April 2014 in pictures

Another month done! April was a busy month at work, but with a long weekend in Chicago in there. which was much needed, much enjoyed, and much appreciated.

I did the April Photo A Day Challenge again, so here’s what I posted.

something purple // in my hand // shapes // good together // not mine // a taste of spring // where I’d rather be // hobby // dark

my fave part of the day // 3 of a kind // on my left // more please! // dirty // I’m reading this // my vice / something I learned // good

money // egg // close // four things // entrance // a pop of colour // remember // enjoy the little things // under my feet

chaotic // contrast // something silly

(A month with 30 days in it works well for my OCD, everything is all lined up.)

Coming up in May: still being busy at work, but maybe finally some warm weather (and less rain please, this poor baby raccoon who was wet and squeaking and trying to stay dry under a tree agrees). My sister and her husband are visiting next weekend, so that means a lot of eating, which means a lot of upcoming food photos. Just for you, Jenni! :)


Chicago: My turquoise trip

I’m dubbing my Easter long weekend trip to Chicago my turquoise trip because practically everything I saw, wore, and bought was some shade of turquoise/teal/aqua. But not what I ate. That would be gross. Even I draw the line at turquoise ice cream. (Although I think that’s actually mint and it’s just the light making it look blue.)

the view when I crossed the Chicago River, walking from the L train (which I took from Midway Airport to the Loop) to the hotel

I hadn’t been to Chicago since 2009, so it was nice to be back. Great city. The people are so friendly! As a jaded, surly Easterner, I was at first surprised and then embraced it completely. Great city. Unless all you know of Chicago is Chicagoland, in which case you might think you’ll be shot the moment you arrive and it’s a terrible place and why would you ever want to visit? (*cough*Will’s mom*cough*)

And now onto the highlights of my trip, including the food, shopping, and turquoise things. Fair warning: heavy on the photos.


Packing a weekend trip into a small backpack:

I’ve seen kids going to school carrying bigger backpacks than that.


Dinner at Xoco by Rick Bayless:

Guacamole, tortilla chips and salsa, the Milanesa torta, and churros with a chocolate shot for dipping. The guacamole and chips and salsa were amazing. I don’t know why they were so much better than any others I’ve had before, but they were.

Blurry deliciousness


Cloud Gate at Millenium Park (i.e. The Bean):

In theory, this must have been a weird idea. A giant reflective bean in the park! In practice, it’s amazing.

Underneath the Bean. Can you spot me and Will?

And the requisite close-up selfie of the two of us. (Note the teal sneakers and teal T-shirt!) We had a really nice weekend together, we’ve both been so busy at work (him more than me, but we’ve been busy), it was nice to spend time with each other.

It’s also gorgeous at night. I’m a sucker for twinkly, sparkly lights.


The Chicago skyline:


I love the architecture in Chicago. People say it looks like Toronto, but it doesn’t. Chicago is so much nicer. (Sorry, Toronto.)



The Chicago River obliged me by being bright turquoise:


Lunch at Frontera Grill (also a Rick Bayless restaurant):

Tortilla soup, Will’s street food platter, my duck carnitas enchiladas, and Mexican vanilla bean ice cream with homemade cajeta (goat milk caramel). The soup was amazing. The ice cream was amazing. Everything was amazing. I ate way too much and honestly felt a little sick afterwards.


Lake Michigan also obliged me by being turquoise:


A day of shopping:

As much as Will and I love to spend time together, we also love our time apart. So Friday was the day he went to do what he wanted to do, and I went shopping. I took the L to the Lakeview neighbourhood specifically to go to the Splendid store, and just to be in a neighbourhood I’d never been before.

I was looking for a Starbucks and instead found a DAVIDsTEA (Canadian chain expanding!), which just happens to have a teal colour scheme.

I was thinking of buying this because it’s teal (I was very committed to the theme), but I could just get it at home.

In the changing room at Anthropologie, wearing a Baublebar x Anthropologie necklace.

Splendid tee (purchased at Christmas in Boston) // Club Monaco scarf // Soia & Kyo trench (2008) // marc by marc jacobs Preppy leather Hillier hobo // lululemon wunder under leggings // adidas kicks

The turquoise purchases:

Baublebar x Anthropologie Seastone necklace, J.Crew flower fan necklace, Splendid 3/4 Sleeve Shirting Top in Bermuda, Crate & Barrel Market Mini Bowls

Oh yeah, and this:

(which I can’t seem to find online. It’s similar to this, but it’s simpler than that.)

I spent some time on the crazy busy Magnificent Mile, but I found this little oasis just off of it to stop and catch my breath.


Ice cream for lunch:

I happened upon a Jeni’s Ice Cream store in Lakeview, so of course I had to have ice cream for lunch. I’ve heard about Jeni’s for a while and always wanted to try it.

Salty caramel sauce )I might have taken some home if I weren’t travelling with carry-on luggage only), goat cheese with red cherries ice cream (I love anything with cherries), my cup of goat cheese with cherries and brown butter almond brittle, with amarena cherries and a waffle chip on top. It made for a great lunch. 


The Publican for dinner:

It’s a gastropub in the meat-packing district, so it’s really hip and trendy and not usually the sort of place we go. My sister recommended it though, so we tried it. Will didn’t like the trendy communal tables (he likes more elbow room) and our waitress was annoying, but the food was really good. I’d go back just for the food.

Spicy pork rinds (like Doritos but way better!), grilled duck heart crostini, half charcuterie plate (half!), and a full taste of three types of ham. Not pictured: a beet and burrata cheese salad, and a gem lettuce salad with crispy pig ears.

I thought we’d end up with tiny plates of poncy food because our waitress thought we hadn’t ordered enough (we ordered 6 dishes, all appetizers), but the plates were huge. The half charcuterie plate was more than enough for two. I guess it was the Midwest’s version of small plates? (Not complaining.)


This lime curd tart:

At Xoco again, the last thing I ate before I left. I could have eaten 3 of these. (The impending lime shortage makes me cry inside.)



I read somewhere today (on a blog or Instagram, can’t remember which one or I’d give proper credit) that the weather in the northeast is very indecisive at this time of year. Is it warm? Is it cold? Is it both? Is it still snowing? (According to the Weather Network this morning, it was.)

Today seemed very decisively cold and windy though, so it was back to a warmer jacket and a hat (I don’t pack these away until May at the latest).

Club Monaco hat // Anthropologie Cream Confection Jacket (Idra, 2010)

It’s still tights weather for me too. (Also, this dress again…I wear it a lot.)

Club Monaco Kelsey Dress // J.Crew gem stack necklace // J.Crew cardigan // Wolford tights // Tory Burch Reva flats

I wore this dress to work today, and I wore it out to dinner in Chicago last Friday night. It’s kinda my go-to dress at the moment.

Speaking of Chicago, I had a great long weekend, recap coming shortly. Sightseeing, shopping, and eating, of course. Until then, here’s an outtake and me just being stupid.



My eyes are up here

I wore this graphic tee last casual Friday and kept getting weirded out about people staring at my chest. I rarely wear graphic tees, so that’s why I forgot there was actually something on my chest to look at and read. I just thought I was getting more rack attention than usual, until I remembered and it was ok.

Anthropologie Paper Moon Francophile Tee (t.la) // Gap 1969 legging jeans // Gap classic ballet flats in rose bush

I think I misfired with the red flats, they don’t really go with the pink moon, but I made a valiant effort. I’ll likely wear this combo again tomorrow or Friday in Chicago, where I’ll be with Will for a much-needed long weekend away from Toronto. (I’m really looking forward to it, I leave in a few hours.)

But more than likely I’ll end up in my usual weekend attire, yoga pants masquerading as skinny leggings and a long t-shirt:

J.Crew tissue long-sleeve tee // lululemon wunder under pant // Gap classic ballet flats in rose bush

In fact, this might be what I wore all morning when I was working at home, with giant socks instead of ballet flats (it’s cold again out there!). It might be what I’ll wear on the plane, with boots (screw being fashionable while travelling, I have to be comfortable). Maybe if I throw on a statement necklace it’ll be acceptable?

I really struggle with my casual wear. I get dressed up/overdressed for work, but then casual Friday and the weekend rolls around and I go overboard with the comfy clothes. I will try to wear jeans in Chicago. And to step up my casual outfits after that.  It’s my challenge for this year!

The exchange rate for the Canadian dollar isn’t as good as it used to be, and Chicago seems to have fairly high sales tax, so I doubt it will be much of a shopping trip. Instead it will be a sightseeing and eating trip (emphasis on eating). I have reservations for Rick Bayless’s Frontera Grill and the publican (at my sister’s recommendation), plans to visit Rick Bayless’s Xoco, and if I can convince Will to stand in line, a trip to Hot Doug's. I’m sure a food post will follow my return. Until then, hope everyone (who celebrates) has a happy Easter!


Jewellery first

Generally getting dressed involves picking the outfit and then the accessories, but sometimes I do it backwards, I start with the necklace and go from there.

J.Crew Symmetrical Stone necklace

When the necklace is as big and sparkly as this one, it kinda screams to be centre of attention, right?

I coveted it in February, and picked it up on one of their sales/promos after that. (I never saw the original in person, which is ok because I prefer the spring version.) It might be a bit too much, but I love it. Even with the yellow. (It’s the turquoise that sold me, of course.) Somehow I haven’t gotten around to posting it here, but I have worn it a lot. Surprisingly, it goes with almost everything.

Club Monaco Cece cashmere tee // Club Monaco Gretchen skirt // Wolford tights // Tory Burch Reva flats

(Damn, I look unimpressed. But this was the best I could do today, which is really sad.)

I’ve earned the nickname “R. Diddy” from a coworker because of this giant bling-y necklace. He also calls me “Kitten”…that’s another story for another time.

I’d been loving a lot of J.Crew jewellery in early part of this year, but that’s come to a screeching halt now and I don’t like any of their current offerings. That’s fine, I can’t expect to like everything all the time, and I’m sure they’ll pull me back again at some point.


Sometimes you just have to put on lip gloss and pretend to be psyched

(From Mindy Kaling's book and her list of alternate titles again.)

I’ve never been much of a bright lip person though, I hate reapplying and I always think it looks completely unnatural on me. (Yes I know, it is unnatural, no one actually has lips that colour.) I’m also worried about standing out too much. I don’t want to blend in, but I don’t want to stand out TOO much, and yes, that is completely contradictory, it’s really quite a mess in my head.

But then I stopped by the MAC counter at the Bay on my lunch hour and what the hell, why not try a hot pink lip. It’s just lipstick, it washes off.

Before and after:

Club Monaco Haley Ls Tee in Smog // J.Crew gem stack necklace // MAC Patentpolish Lip Pencil in Hopelessly Devoted

It’s different. I’m not used to it. But I think I like it to add a pop of colour to black and grey, and maybe I’d like to try it again.

Club Monaco skirt // Wolford tights // Tory Burch Reva flats

It’s not even that bright a lip colour. It’s just way outside my comfort zone.


Always wear flats and have your friends sleep over: a step-by-step how to guide for avoiding getting murdered

I just finished reading Mindy Kaling’s book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) and I’m totally stealing from her list of Alternate Titles for This Book that she was strongly advised not to use.

I’m a fan of Mindy Kaling because she's funny, her wardrobe on The Mindy Project is gorgeous, she loves food as much as she loves shopping, she's proof that you don't have to be a size 2 to look amazing in clothes, and if she's telling the truth about not needing or wanting to be skinny, she's my hero.

Club Monaco Kelsey Dress // Gap Luxlight Stripe Cardigan // Gap classic ballet flats in rose bush

I live with a dude so I don’t think I need to have my friends sleep over to avoid getting murdered, but I Always Wear Flats. Not specifically to not get murdered, but really because my feet are useless and I can’t wear heels for more than 5 minutes at a time anymore. Heels in an outfit photo? You’d better believe that I changed to flats as soon as that photo was taken.

Actually, for a “fashionista”/ “style blogger” (quotations necessary – I can’t call myself that seriously), I have a pretty pitiful collection of shoes. I think of shoes as an afterthought; I wear the same shoes over and over again, and I make sure that my shoes are neutral and go with everything (my silver Tory Burch Reva flats fit that bill, I’ve had those for almost 5 years). I blame my terrible feet for my lack of shoe enthusiasm. These inexpensive Gap flats (I also got them in surf blue) are the first shoes I’ve bought in a long time, and they’ll do the trick for the summer.


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