Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Worthwhile

Thank you for your comments the other day, they really meant a great deal to me.


I picked up this little reminder bracelet by Mai Lin today at a new shop in my neighborhood, Small Goods. Toronto is starting to feel more like home to me. I spent the morning in Kensington Market buying bread, cheese, and salami. We're going to a New Year's Eve skate night at the local rink, and then hiking and dim sum tomorrow morning. I like to start the new year outdoors bright and early, even if it's freezing.

I hope everyone has a joyful beginning to the new year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hold On To Your Friends


Well, the year is nearly over. It seems I've been hiding from everyone lately. There came a point where I just couldn't talk anymore, at least not to my friends. The narrative I would like to construct about my life doesn't have room for my recent thoughts and actions. And so, I went silent. I couldn't bear to tell my friends what was happening because it would somehow make real the sense of failure and feelings of anxiety that seem to have overwhelmed me these past two months. If you've known me for a while, you know that I've been thrown a series of curve balls. Not a single one was impossible to catch, but they kept coming one after another...and I reached my breaking point this fall.

I have a tendency to hide when I feel inundated. Also, at major turning points, I have a tendency to shed my old life altogether. Looking back, I would say that I do this out of sense of embarrassment. I don't want to let my friends and loved ones down, so I run away instead.

Someone recently told me in times of crisis, I need to lean on my friends. To try not to worry about being a disappointment. So here I am, standing in the memory of a dazzlingly bright summer day at the tide pools, feeling anxious about the coming months, unaware of just how far I would move away from my life, for better or for worse. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Philly!


I went to Philly the other day to chair a conference session. I also met up with Jennifer F. It's always amazing to find people through blogs who also share similar real-life research interests. We had excellent pho at Viet Huong in South Philly, and then we hopped over to Old City, where I've never been. We checked out the goodies at Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction and found the Black Crane wide culottes in navy on sale at Vagabond. I learned that Sven clogs are more comfortable than No. 6, and that my proper size is 38. I also got a Black Crane wide crew tee in olive. The Stellapop sweaters were ridiculously soft, like snuggling with a dozen angora rabbits.

I'll post photos soon of my new black quilt pants from Mille, which now need to be washed because I wore them so much. They are fantastically comfortable yet look great rolled up with ankle boots. I probably should have stuck with a small because they're too loose in the leg, but I don't mind.

It's official, I'm addicted to Black Crane....



Monday, October 06, 2014

Work in Progress: The Entryway {UPDATE}


I used to think the shoe cabinet was a ridiculous object. That's what closets are for!

Then we moved into our new space. Now I feel like my life has been improved tenfold. Putting it together was a pain, but that's on par for Ikea.

I'm still on the lookout for a high-traffic rug and possibly a different blanket for the bench. I'll post photos of the new living room rug so you can get a better sense of the colors. I'm thinking I should stick with white furniture whenever possible since I'm not re-painting the walls.

Here's the entryway in its previous disheveled state while we were moving things around this past summer. 


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fall sweater

At the recommendation of Stephanie, I got the Texturework sweater at Madewell in August. The fit is surprisingly good, with a longer back hem and ribbing at the drop shoulder. So far I've hand washed it twice, and there's been less pilling than I would have expected for cotton/viscose/nylon blend. I would recommend sizing down (I got an xs) because it stretched out a bit horizontally. It's very soft and looks great over a collared shirt.

The egyptian gold color is more mustard brown than yellow in real life, but that's the one that I have.
I also loved the marled sage, but pretty much all of the colors are great.

Right now the sweater is on sale for $69 plus an additional 30% off (PINCHME).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Black Crane Quilt Pants


I ended up ordering these pants in black after originally planning on the navy. It looks like the black is a bit muted, which may work better with my tops. If the olive version is re-stocked at Mille, I think I would like a pair of those as well. I went with a size medium for a slouchier fit. I'll post a report once they arrive!

The past weekend was assembling massive amounts of Ikea furniture. It makes such a huge difference to have proper spaces for things like shoes. Now all we need to do is tidy up and rearrange a few things to make the place more presentable. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Basic black ankle boots

I love my Rachel Comey Mars boots. They're beautiful and relatively comfortable as long as I stay indoors or in a car. Hah. So I wear them at conferences, and that's pretty much it.

If my classrooms were in the same building as my office, I would be ok with wearing them, but I have to walk 10-15 minutes each way twice a week. I'm a wimp, I can't handle the heel. Stephanie recommended Loeffler Randall's Felix boot, which looks great. I was thinking maybe the Madewell Hayes boot would work. The price is right with their current sale (20% off $100+ and 30% off $200+ WINWIN), but I don't know if they're comfortable enough. Has anyone tried them on? I need something that's sleek even with a flat heel. I don't need forever shoes, just something to get me through the fall and spring. Winter means nothing but tall UGG Adirondacks.

Madewell Hayes boot, $228

Loeffler Randall Felix boot, $395

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Back again

I'm here.

For now let's bracket the less than delightful and focus on my favorite season. I adore pretty much everything at Steven Alan. Would it be ridiculous to wear what is essentially fancy pajamas to work?

Black Crane High Neck Top and Quilt Pants

I have a few home improvement projects to share including a new rug for the living room. It's slowly coming together....

Friday, August 01, 2014

extra 25% Steven Alan Sale

Tsuyumi Cotton Sun Hat

Hope Law Trouser
Steven Alan is taking an extra 25% off sale items with "MIDSUMMER25"

My Tsuyumi hat never arrived from my previous order, and it turns out they're sold out. No worries, I've ordered the blue cotton version for $47. Unfortunately, I'll have to pay another $12 for shipping, but at least I'll get my hat finally!

If I were smart about my fall teaching wardrobe, I would also order these Hope Law Trousers, which are still available in many sizes and only $173 before discount. But of course I'm not thinking ahead because it's almost vacation time and all I want are sandals and tees.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Work in Progress: The Kitchen



The kitchen is our most problematic space. As with many families, it's also where we spend our time. It's an odd space because it's spacious but not particularly functional. There aren't even drawers in the cabinets. That seems nuts to me! We've considered buying and installing our own, but I'm not sure if they would be worth the time and effort. The dining space does triple duty as the center for eating, arts and crafts, and recycling. The countertops, as you can see, are very crowded. There's about 3 feet linear space. We don't have a lot of appliances, but clearly stuff needs to be moved elsewhere or organized differently. I've included a photo of a typical meal prep. Dishes piled high because we never seem to have time to tidy up before or after meals. Mornings are slow because bedtime is much too late...because we pick the boys up at 6 pm....so everything gets pushed back, and then we're exhausted. Between meltdowns, fights, and general crankiness, the place deteriorates rapidly. You have to be extremely disciplined in a small space, and sometimes all you want to do is collapse on the couch instead of very very quietly washing dishes at 10 pm.

Projects to tackle in the kitchen include:
  • A shelf in the living room for the speaker
  • Relocate the charging station elsewhere
  • Install shelves on the tiled wall? I'm not sure this would be allowed in a rental.
  • A smaller dish rack might force me to deal with the dishes in a more efficient manner. This would also free up counter space
  • An absorbent dish drying mat that can be rolled up and put away when not in use
  • A nicer looking compost bin
  • Uniform clear bins in the dining space for art supplies

The nicest thing about the kitchen is that it's wide enough for everyone during our hectic evenings. But it isn't wide enough to add a narrow kitchen island next to the pantry niche. How would you deal with minimal counter space, a tiny sink, and the busy messiness of family life with two parents working 9-6?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Work in Progress: Bedroom / Playroom / Storage Room



The boys' room is one of our trickiest spaces. Both bedrooms are equal in size, but this one has the apartment's only closet. It's also a tricky space because our sleeping arrangement is...complicated. For those of you who've followed our sleep trials with Leon, things are both better and mostly the same. Elias stays in the crib until around 4am, at which point he sleeps in a bed with me. We either sleep on the twin bed in his room, or we switch to the other bedroom, where Leon sleeps on a full bed.

This room is also a primary play space, although the living room is unsurprisingly more popular. But we store most of the toys here. I finally bought a toy bench from Ikea, and it has been a godsend. I call it the black hole because it holds so much including oversized items.

Finally, the room is our storage area. We added two new shelving units for stuff that belongs in a closet: linens, tools, bicycle stuff, important files, and overflow clothing. As you can see, a stroller, bike pump, and vacuum, are often shoved in the corner as well. The closet holds even more unsightly stuff as well as winter coats.

Soon we're going to get a full bed for this room because Leon, Elias, and I will sleep here while my mom takes over the other room. I've spent hours playing with the layout, which Matthew drew up in Rhino.

These are the projects I need to tackle:
  • Storage boxes need to be more uniform or complementary with the rest of the space
  • The dresser was a Craigslist bargain. I can't stand the color, so we'll either repaint or buy something else
  • A different curtain, shorter in length, or a roller blind
  • Too much blue! I swear it wasn't intentional.
  • I don't like the Poang, but it's great for getting Elias to fall asleep. I would love to replace it with a more attractive high-backed armchair.

If only! Dwell Studio Hans Chair (leather or fabric)
How have you dealt with multi-functional rooms? Do you try to keep the zones separate, or do you focus on a unifying or harmonizing scheme?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Work in Progress: More thoughts on the entryway

Image source

Image source

Image source







I like the idea of the locker or cubby entryway, but I'd also like to keep this area as open as possible. The locker aesthetic seems to skew either "school" or "cottage," which is fine, but my larger concern is unifying the entryway with the living room.

Living in a cold climate, we need the entryway to function as a mudroom and repository for bulky winter clothing as well as the usual school and household related stuff. I like the addition of the metal mailboxes in the third image, as well as the little table with a drawer and open bin for junk mail.

Although it would be a pain to drill all those holes, I also think it would be good to have painted knobs at different heights for the boys. Last winter their outerwear bin was out of control, and often jackets and mittens would be left on the floor. Let's hope we can adopt better habits this time around.

Work in Progress: The Entryway and Livingroom

Our apartment may be small and lacks storage space, but it gets a lot of light and has an open living room kitchen plan. Bedrooms are also conveniently located at either end. That said, not even 600 sq ft is challenging for a family of four plus a cat.

The first thing we did was move the bicycle from the entryway into the basement. I don't think we're technically allowed to do this, but there are other bicycles downstairs. We also brought down our sled and a large humidifer. Basically everything else we own is in the apartment.

The entryway is currently a staging ground for moving stuff either into the car or into my office. At some point we're going to have to decide on the following:
  • Two benches or one bench plus baskets and stools?
  • More wall hooks. Should we go with more of the same (Ikea Leksvik) or something exciting?
  • A high traffic runner
  • A new area rug
  • The wall behind the couch doesn't look right to me
  • Maybe another shelf on the divider wall for our wireless speaker

I've spent too many hours on Apartment Therapy. Now I've learned that we need a more efficient landing strip. We're constantly forgetting hats and extra towels for daycare because they're never corralled together. We also don't have a place for mail, so the little table ends up overflowing with paper.

How have you handled entry spaces? Is there a system that works for you?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Steven Alan Sample Sale



UPDATE:
They forgot to include the hat in my package and there aren't any left in stock :(


Something for him, something for me

These are being sent to California, so I won't get to try out the hat until August. I waffled on buying the one with the ochre band (it sold out pretty quickly), but the black banded version at half off will do just as nicely.

If you haven't received an email from Steven Alan and would like early access to the sample sale, I think you will need to sign up for an account. I nearly bought an Ace and Jig surf dress and then I worried that it wasn't actually reversible. I've tried on the Diamond print version, which I want, and the inside print is Agave. Based on the photos, it looks like Agave's inside print is Diamond, but is it actually reversible?? I'm guessing no.

Ace&Jig Surf Dress in Agave, now $128 I would go with a medium, even the large fits on top


This is the one that I want, in the Diamond print.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Apartment brainstorming

It turns out we can't leave the country this weekend to attend a wedding in Toledo, so I've decided to spend some of my extra time brainstorming apartment ideas. I had a friend take a look at the space, and her recommendations included painting the living room white to match the kitchen, add interesting wall hooks for the entry, store the bicycle elsewhere, and buy uniform storage boxes for the shelving units.

I'm going to take photos of the place this weekend and maybe you can chime in as well. But first things first, here are a few images I've found inspiring these past few days.

Image from here
Tveit and Tornoe Dots oak wall hooks from here
Image from here
Image from here
Image from here
Our place is just under 600 square feet with a shotgun house layout. We do not have access to basement, outdoor, or balcony space, and there is only one closet in the apartment. The two bedrooms are fairly large, as is the kitchen, but the living room is narrow and tiny. Starting in September the boys and I will be sharing a room, and my mother will stay in the other room, so quite a bit of open space will be taken up by a larger family bed. It's going to be crowded, but I think we're disciplined enough to manage even with two little ones and a cat.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy Fourth!

My patriotic Ace&Jig dress

Happy Fourth of July!

We're gearing up for our trip to Toledo by way of Detroit next weekend. Speaking of curation, I'm excited to see SANAA's Glass Pavilion, especially since one of my students is writing about it. I've really enjoyed the discussion on Assembled Hazardly. If you can separate these questions from capitalism and neoliberalism--obviously I have a hard time doing this--I find we're all concerned with making sense of our place in the world.

This week marks three years since we left America, and it also marks my disengagement with a lot of the activities that used to define my sense of self. It has been both liberating and profoundly unsettling. It has also forced me to ask better questions about how my work (teaching+research) is embedded in my daily life.

Stay safe and enjoy the holiday weekend, friends.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

scout


Hey there, how have things been going?

I had a great trip to NYC last month. Stephanie and I had our customary lunch at Gahm Mi Oak. We went to Uniqlo and Muji, where I proceeded to buy my core summer wardrobe for $200. Skinny jeans, a linen button down, and a red oxford shirt at Uniqlo, and then a khaki skirt and cropped stripe tee at Muji. I highly recommend the Uniqlo shirts, and if you're looking for a pair of $40 no fuss, mid-rise skinny jeans at Uniqlo, I would suggest sizing down. I went with the 26s, and the waist stretches out after one wear. The Muji skirt is perfect for my cropped tees and blouses, and I feel like a proper scout these days.

We also went to Nepenthes and ogled their wild prints. It seems I'm on a skirt kick after many years of leaving them out of rotation. This one in particular has my name on it.


Anyway, things have been...complicated...these days. Aside from being busy teaching and commuting nearly 4 hours round trip once a week, I've been juggling 3 balls and 2 fire sticks for the past month. Being a contingent academic is hard. I'm lucky to be in Canada, where you can be contingent and still have social benefits like health care. But teaching 6 new courses in 12 months along with administrative duties has really taken it out on me. Not getting my dream job at a liberal arts college last year took the wind out of my sails. It would be putting it mildly to say that my past year was steeped in despair. A lot of good has come out of it, including an awesome new project, but I've also spent a lot of time angry and bitter.

Starting in September I will be single-parenting at least half the week, if not more, while Matthew begins his PhD coursework in Cambridge. It wasn't easy to decide on staying behind in Toronto, but my choices were frustratingly limited. We also decided to stay in our tiny 600 sq ft apartment for the time being. I've enlisted a friend to help me redecorate and organize the space, so hopefully I can share our progress in the next few months.

Anyway, I hope your summer has been filled with delicious and lovely things. We're going strawberry picking this weekend.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Cropped tops

Samuji Hylje Top
I started teaching again, and this time it requires a 3+ hour round-trip commute. I've also been trying to be more social. When your life is in a holding pattern, it's easy to fall into the habit of self-denial....Why make plans to see friends or buy new furniture if you don't know where you're going to be in 6 months? Why buy frivolous things like clothes or books if you don't know what your income will be next year?

But there comes a point, usually when the sun is shining and the cherry trees are blooming, when you shake off the fear and anxiety and say hey, stranger, it's time I came and visited you! And maybe a new top will give you a much-needed boost of self-appreciation.

So the other day I went on a walk to Yorkville instead of putting together lecture slides. I ended up buying a silk buttondown top from Aritzia, which is a place that usually gives me a headache. It's black with off-white polkadots and a tiny collar. I was wearing my Ilana Kohn Darryl top and thinking I'd like to try something different. So I bought a cropped top (same cut as this one) that seems like it will work well during the hot summer months. Zara had quite a few nice looking tops, but they were all polyester. Now I need to find a few high-waist skirts and pants. I'm thinking mid-length skirts that are flowy but not flouncy or poufy.

Next week we're going to Montreal for 3 days, and the week after that I'll be in NYC for 4 days to catch up with friends.
Speaking of cropped tops, this one by Julia is pretty much perfect. I should be practical and get it in black, but there's something so appealing about the silvery version.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Imogene + Willie sale


Imogene+Willie is having a sale on black and slate colored denim. I'm going to order the Imogenes in Slate since they're only $50 and there's free shipping today. I've never tried them on, so I'm a little iffy on sizing. I'm usually a 26 or 27 depending on the cut. I think I've reached a point in my life where a higher rise is more comfortable, so hopefully the Imogenes will do the trick. Eventually I'd like a pair in indigo and maybe black. Right now my denim pile consists of a pair of Anthropologie Pilcros (26), which have a higher rise but the leg twists around, Current-Elliott boyfriends for weekends (25), accidentally pink-stained Surface to Air boyfriends in a light wash (27), and navy AG skinnies that are too low waisted (26). Based on Imogene+Willie's sizing guide, it looks like a 26 should fit. I'm having them sent to CA, so it will be awhile before they arrive.



Monday, April 28, 2014

Jumpsuits

Zara Jumpsuit

  
Ace & Jig Zodiac Onesie

My last day at the office is on Wednesday. I'm teaching a twelve week course over the summer, which requires a nomadic existence. I'm at a point in my life where I'm ok with the idea of showing up to a lecture wearing a jumpsuit. Who's with me?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Snow in April

Ilana Kohn Blue Flowers Jersey Tee Dress

Maryam Nassir Zadeh skirt

Lauren Manoogian Shawl cardigan
Let's ignore the snow on the ground and focus on spring. My summer is turning out to be more work and less play, but I'm hoping to get some time in the sandbox as well.

It's funny, but I've spent the past few years running away from skirts, but Michelle makes it look effortless. I'm also obsessed with Ilana's blue flower print, with its Marimekko cheerfulness.