2014: PPMeow in Review

Here we are….the last day of 2014!  And thus concludes my first year of blogging! Yay!!! 🙂

Thank you for reading, following and commenting.  If you’ve got feedback or ideas you’d like me to explore/review in the new year … let me know in the comment section and I’ll do my very best to tackle them as blogposts in the New Year!

There have been 170 blogposts, not bad for the first year!  I only really got the hang of publishing and alerting various social media channels towards the later part of the year, so I thought I’d pick out a few of my favourite posts that were maybe missed, or hidden by Facebook at the time.

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Go Canada Go!  The biggest news worthy thing I remember happening in 2014 is Team Canada winning gold, beating Sweden 3-0 in men’s Olympic hockey!  Canada dominated moving into the finals! And at 6am on this Sunday in February bars everywhere  opened their doors to die-hard Canadians who support our athletes by drinking beers and cheering at big screen TVs with complete strangers in unison.  And to join the hoopla I dedicated an Outfit Of the Day to the win 🙂

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OOTD: Go Canada Go!

Although I often write about fashion – What I Wore – I try to also focus on lifestyle too – What I Did while wearing it.   Just as seeing someone who more resembles your body shape wearing an outfit you never thought to try yourself,  I write about my adventures at trying something new in hopes that YOU might try it for yourself as well.   There have been several specific LIFESTYLE posts around activities I’ve tried such as:

BollyFuze – Now What?  a Bollywood dance based workout designed to get you up and moving! Each class runs an hour-long, blending together elements of Indian Classical, Modern Bollywood & Folk dance with main stream fitness techniques that gives you a full body workout. Best part – BollyFuze is designed for all levels, ages & abilities …and with the energetic beats of Bollywood you totally trick your body into getting fit with hip-shaking-fun!

Yoga  I personally hadn’t practiced yoga in nearly two years before I found Studio Blue.   I was super nervous to go back into the classroom with  a bunch of wafer thin bun-headed girls, wearing nothing but LuLuLemon pants and sport bras that matched with zero sweat on their perfectly manicured eyebrows and likely full make-up faces (Why are People Afraid to Try Yoga?)  But once I got over the initial ‘scare’ it yield a ton of benefits …. AND I even arranged for a  PPMeow! $30 Pass  EXCLUSIVE to YOU – my blog’s readers & followers 🙂

Swing Dancing  I officially got bit by the swing fever bug at my first Rockabillie Concert… I signed up for classes the very next day.  I’ve blogged about my very first swing lesson – describing myself as a hot mess.  It was tricky at first, but week after week I felt more and more confident of the steps, felt myself improving and I couldn’t for class to learn the next big move. And now, honestly I dunno what I did without this fun dancing outlet in my life!!!  There have been a number of different blogpost related to swing dancing … I love it so… simply type the words “swing dancing” into the search bar within the blog and you’ll find them all friends 😉

There was also Country Line Dancing, singing loudly weekly with Choir, Choir, Choir, my adventures in Speed Dating and fun in the sun with my Vacation Recap post to Grenada.   Looking back, this year has been pretty awesome.

the berto - glamour1The saddest part of 2014 was the passing of my pup, The Berto 😦  But, in his memory Maryanne and My Beaded Designs will be donating $5 to the Pomeranian and Small Breed Rescue (PSBR)  from every Swarovski PAW you buy.  Have you gotten yours yet?  Click here!

WordPress tells me that the busiest day of the year on the blog was April 10th — the post that day was THE Valentina Illusion Dress.

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THE Valentina Illusion Dress

There have been a ton of outfit posts so I’ve created my first Flipagram to capture my faves ….it’s even set to my personal theme song:  Golden by Jill Scott 🙂

Thank you again for reading, commenting, following and supporting Petite Plus, Meow!  There are some exciting things in store for me and the blog in the upcoming months – as I’m declaring 2015 to be THE YEAR OF TRAVEL in my life.  Stay tuned friends.

Wishing you a fantastic New Year’s Eve tonight, and may 2015 be our best year yet! xo

 

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Holiday Double Feature: Red & Green

Your holiday calendar is likely packed with tons of parties and get-togethers over the next couple weeks.   You’re gonna need a festive frock or two for this super-social season.

Not to fear friends, me & Cassie of Style Cassentials, are gonna be giving you some inspiration when it comes to outfits, accessories and all that jazz ALL WEEK with our special Holiday Double Feature collaboration!

We’re kicking off the series talking about the classic christmas combo colours of Red and Green 🙂

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Photo credit: Val Soo

When I’m feeling festive, it’s hard for me not to over do it with the reds and the greens.  For holiday parties, pick one to avoid looking like a christmas ornament 🙂

This green fanny midi skirt is pretty great – so great in fact, that I even bought it in a wine red too! Click here to see that.  To make it holiday and winter ready I paired it up with a simple black sweater and jazzed it up with jewellery.

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Photo credit: Val Soo

The details on the neckline and arms of this black sweater were really pretty, and to draw attention to them I kept the jewellery minimal & matching in a deep red-gold combo to give my overall outfit the festive feeling I was after.

How I Got The Look:  Fanny midi skirt from Tatyana Boutique;  Black sweater from Reitmans; Maryjane shoes from NineWest; Purse from Danier Leather; Red cuff and necklace from Celo, Gold on red belt from Fashion Crimes

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Photo credit: Val Soo

I wore this outfit (slightly modified) recently, to Your Big Sister’s Closet store’s holiday bash  — since it was a mild evening I wore a simple black corp top (Forever21+, click here), my faux fur bag (Aldo, click here) and black suede booties (Nine West, click here) instead.

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While I went green, Cassie did the opposite showcasing a red dress with sheer panel at the hem of the skirt, with green nail polish to add to her festive look.  Her crisp white blazer can take this look to the office …and beyond!  Head over to Style Cassentials for all the details on how Cassie has styled her holiday look below.  Or visit her Facebook page here. 🙂

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Cassie of Style Cassentials

What do you think about these looks?  How are you going to be rocking the festive red & green this holiday season?  Tell me in the comments section…

Stay tuned tomorrow as we continue with this special Holiday Double Feature Collaboration!!!!

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Photo Credit: Val Soo



 

2014 Vacation: Grenada

With project deliverables and timelines being pushed back, October was the first time I’ve been able to schedule a vacation all year!

The biggest pain with travelling solo is the ‘single supplement fee” many vacation destinations and travel packages charge travellers simply because they’re travelling solo.  I had no real plans to go away this year, but not taking any time off since last November was starting to take its toll on me.

Luckily, a gf of mine was also looking to get away for some R&R…and we were able to snag a fabulous Air Canada Vacation deal at a 4-stars ALL INCLUSIVE 7-night stay at a beautiful resort in Grenada!  TripAdvisor scored it pretty well, the dates worked and the price was right!

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ve likely already seen a few of these pics…

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Our 1st day in Grenada – complete with rainbows, drinks, sand & sunset!



The last few years of trips and travel have been more bucket-list-adventure focused (click here to see what I mean).

For this trip, I truly was a beach bum!  There was a lot of lounging around the pool, drink in hand, reading my book while falling in & out of naps in the sun.  Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 9.27.12 PMTo be honest friends, there weren’t too many outfit pictures taken on this week away.   It was a SOLID rest and relaxation for the first time in a long time (vacation-wise).IMG_5042

 

Having said all that, this blogpost will be focus more on ‘What I Did”, rather than “What I Wore”.

Here we go….

Packing for the Trip

Seems that whenever I travel, somehow a pair of sunglasses goes missing.  No matter what.  So, I’ve gotten into the routine of buying a few ‘cheapy vacation pairs’ to combat my forgetfulness.

I picked up these three below:  Heart shaped polka-dots from Clare’s Accessories ($5) and the other two from Forever21 ($7 each)

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Packing outfits for this trip was pretty simple:  I just looked back to the blog to see what Summertime looks I rocked and shoved those items into my suitcase.  I’ve linked each image below with their respective blogpost if you’re curious about the specific outfit deets 😉

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Grenada is an island country consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea.  Known as the Spice Isle for the nutmeg and cinnamon, clove, ginger, vanilla, lemongrass, bay leaf, thyme, and turmeric that grow so abundantly here, Grenada is a wonderfully green peaceful place, that feels off the beaten tourist track.  Which totally works for me!

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The Vacation Package (Flight + Hotel)

As I said above, we found a last-min deal with Air Canada Vacation — advertised as a  4-star resort in Grenada:  Grenadian by Rex Resorts.  

Let me start by asking … when YOU hear 4-stars, what do you expect out of an ALL INCLUSIVE resort?

The ‘Garden View’ Rooms weren’t anything special. They were clean and the view really wasn’t a garden so much as it was a hilly batch of grass.  But who cares about that stuff.  My biggest disappointment was the fact that the bathroom was teeny-tiny and did not have a tub.  Now, I realize that a tub isn’t essential….however the standup shower was soooo small that if you were to drop the soap, your bare ass would be completely out of the shower!  Shaving ones legs all week in there was not easy friends.

Seriously!? 4-stars and I have to ASK for a four-piece bathroom – really?  Just saying’…

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This was the width of the shower. Zero place to put your toiletries, soap, shampoo, etc. It was Ridiculous!
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The width of this shower … it was tight. 4-stars…I think NOT!

 

Outside of that bathroom disappointment, there weren’t any a la cart restaurants voucher included with our stay.  The single restaurant on the resort grounds would give us a $40 credit, which didn’t mean much as each entrée started at the $80+ mark.

Lucky for us the buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinners were delicious!  Super flavourful and authentic, which I appreciated.  Hate it when resorts make their foods more “tourist friendly”.

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 9.27.30 PMThe grounds of the resort were beautiful.  There was only one pool, but since it was a off-season, there weren’t too many people there in general, and even fewer children.  There seemed to be a lot of travellers from the UK there, but mostly honeymooning couples or retirees with tons of vacay time (upwards of 5-weeks).  We did meet and hang with three Brit dudes that week – let’s call them Alvin, Simon and Theodore.  And by mid-week there was an invasion of Caribbean Tennis Pros who happened to be conference at our resort.  So there were plenty of friends to be made for drinking and dining with, all week-long 🙂

 

Things To Do in Grenada:

Coincidentally, earlier in the month I met a light-eyed, broad, tall, handsome stranger at a networking event who happened to be from Grenada.   My immediate thoughts were…”If THAT’S how they grow their men in that country, then I need to get to there!’ 😉

He shared the following list of things I HAD to do while visiting (those listed in blue consider them completed off the list):

  • Eat Oil Down – traditional dish of Grenada, its delicious!
  • Try to visit Cariacou (one of Grenada’s sister Islands, the other is Petite Martinique). I believe there is a ferry service daily
  • Grenada Chocolate Factory Co-Op (best chocolate ever! completely organic)
  • Nutmeg processing plant on one of the estates
  • Annadale Falls
  • Fort Fredrick (and old Fort built by the French in the 1790s i believe). One of the best views on the island!
  • Concord Falls
  • BEACHES – Grand Anse (Grenada’s “top” beach), BBC (nice and secluded. this is my favourite), Bathway (stay within the retaining wall area, the sea is very rough but manageable as long as you stay within that area), Levera (very rough water where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic. Also where the Leatherback Turtles come to lay their eggs. you might just want to take a walk along that beach if you’re not a strong swimmer. Bathway is around the corner, so you can always take a dip there), Pink Gin Beach (pinkish colour sand), Magazine Beach (I think my hotel was on might this beach)
  • River Antoine Distillery (organic white rum, Full Strength!! lol) 
  • Sulphur Springs (great mud bath, close to Levera and Bathway)
  • Fish Friday in Gouyave 

 

Things I DID in Grenada:

Great beaches, excellent Caribbean food and wonderful people.  I’m told there is really good scuba diving (I’m a non-swimmer, but an excellent wader! I did manage to convince one of the wait staff to procure a noodle just for me to use ALL week for both the pool & beach.  Seems I’m an excellent sweet-talker … especially in my bathing suit 😉

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Leapers CliffLeapers Cliff in Grenada

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Concord Falls

Concord Falls, Grenada
Check out this Jumper!! I tried capturing his jump shot-by-shot until the SPLASH!

Concord Falls, Grenada

Nutmeg Processing Plant

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Rum Factory  

River Antoine Distillery (organic white rum, Full Strength!!)   One of the last places if not the last, that uses a water wheel in the distilling process, a system that goes back to the 1700’s and I believe the wheel they have running there is the original one from that time.

Rum factory in Grenada

Fish Friday

Fish Friday in Gouyave – a weekly street party with lots of FRESH fish and seafood cooked up in a variety of ways plus music and other entertainment.

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And one morning I even woke up bright and early for Bird Watching (yup…you heard me right).

I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed it too. 🙂

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Things I BOUGHT in Grenada

I did very little shopping while I was there.  I did bring back with me bars of Grenada’s finest dark chocolate from both Jouvay and The Grenada Chocolate Company.  AND a bottle of the fantastic West Indian hot sauce. As you can see I’ve used much of it already since being home. I’m a fan – the spicier the better 😉

Oh! And I bought a bottle of Rum Punch from the factory too…no pictures of that…. **hiccup**

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There it is … my 2014 vacay summary recap.  With Winter weather upon us, some of you may be looking for a sunny vacation destination to get away to.  Having read my post,  would Grenada be on your shortlist?

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Transitioning…Ooh La La

The easiest way to make your Summer pieces more Fall appropriate isn’t to ditch them altogether, but to come up with new ways to wear them.

Here are a few simple ways to stretch your wardrobe and make all your old favorites work until Winter.IMG_5322

This simple short-sleeved navy geometric patterned, faux wrap  cotton summer dress has been in my Summer-outfit-rotation for a few years now.  I picked it up from the GAP in LA…and even though it’s starting to fad, I just can’t part with it.  It’s kinda perfect for Lindy Hop lessons – that’s where I was off to in this outfit. 😉

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To make it work for Fall weather I simply added tights.  If you’re not into tights, try leggings (like I’m doing in these pics).    They’re perfect to wear under your summery dresses for more coverage and warmth, while still staying fashion-forward.  I chose a loud colour to help break up the other darker colours of this outfit.

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Boots are an autumn staple!  They make all of your summer outfits warmer and more functional.  Easy Peasy!

You can find booties on the cheap and wear them with your favorite skirt and cardigan/sweater combo like I’ve done in this Outfit of the Day. Boots are an ideal item to stretch your wardrobe — I highly suggest you getting a couple of pairs in different heights. 😉

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How I Got The Look:   Navy geometric patterned dress from GAP; Ooh-la-la sweater, Navy & gold earrings and tights from Old Navy;  Guess purse

So waddya think of the tips in this post?  Will they help YOU transition some of your Summer pieces into the Fall?  Use the Comments section and let me know.

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Dancing on the Pier

PierSo long summer ….. the last Dancing on the Pier swing series at Harbourfront Centre took place last week. I kept my outfit of the day relatively simply, yet nautical …swing dancing by the water and all 🙂

What I wore:  a striped high-neck tank (Reitmans); my navy anchor pencil skirt (Old Navy); and my red Airwaks (Payless)

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For other nautical themed looks click here, here and here.

I only got there for about an hour of solid dancing to the fab Toronto All-Star Big Band, who’s tunes revives the spirit, with the style and sounds of the 1930s, 40s and 50s – that golden age of the big bands.Pier1

Checkout a few candid shots from the event taken by Lawrence Kerr of LawrenceKerrPhotography 


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For other posts about swing dancing in and around Toronto click here, here and here.

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Zebras & Birds

As summer winds down, retailers have enticing sale signs in their windows….and for an addict like me, it is VERY difficult to walk by without shopping.  But I’m doing my best to create my outfits of the day from the items that hang proudly in my closet that deserve my love and attention 🙂

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I threw this look together today – keeping things simple for lunching with a gf + her baby, followed by lindy hop lessons in the evening (minus the sandals for that).

IMG_4263I picked up this sheer bird top during the Spring from Reitmans, from their regular section (it’s an XXL).  The berry bandage skirt is from Forever21+ and was cheap-cheap-cheap ($6).  The blue sandals were picked up earlier this year on a cross boarder shopping extravaganza.

The only ‘newness’ is the Zebra clutch – what I love about it: large enough to hold my laptop, while still looking oh-so chic!IMG_4258How I Got The Look:

Sheer bird top and black tank from Reitmans; Berry skirt from Forever21+; Blue sandals from Payless; Zebra clutch from AlterEgo Clothing; Drop earrings, handmade and gifted.

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9-to-5 & 5-to-9

I wrote this a while a go — and seeing the remaining ‘summer day’ left in Toronto are ones that require sweaters and closed-toed shoes, this post needed to be shared sooner than later.

Enjoy.  xo

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The trickiest part to summer (I think) is figuring out what to wear to the office that’s professional, while keeping you cool and comfortable in the heat of summer days.  Here’s a quick outfit of the day that got lost on my iPhone – pardon the sleepy expression – early morning sun and posing on my balcony clearly don’t mix:

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I’ve owned these pieces for many moons…but have never paired them together, nor have I ever thought of creating an ‘office outfit’ with them.

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How I Got The Look:

  • black peep-toed flats (Payless)  these have become a fabulous ‘commuter’ shoe to get from home to office via TTC (usually with heels in my purse)
  • The white jacket (DressBarn) is super light and meant for summer wear, I think it was meant to be 3/4 length-sleeves…buuuut being petite it basically looks full-length on moi
  • Baby blue blouse (Forever21+) super light and airy fabric … I especially like the single pocket detail of this tank
  • Tribal drawstring pant (Reitmans) possibly the most comfortable pants I own.  For the most part, these days, especially in summer  (I’m a dresses & skirts kinda gal), but these pants are so light that I often find myself double-checking to make sure I’m wear bottoms at all when in these pants. 🙂20140803-191406-69246053.jpg

5p to 9p…..remove jacket head to nearest patio pub with co-workers & friends!

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What do you think of this look?  How do you keep comfortable and cool in the summer with your office looks?  Tell me in the Comments Section

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As You Like It

Summer in Toronto is not complete without attending at least one Shakespere-in-the-Park ‘pay-what-you-can’ event! Pack a picnic, a blanket and a friend or two and it’s a perfect night of outdoor theatre.   This year, CanadianStage is offering both comedy and tragedy in High Park.  The shows will be playing on alternate nights through the summer.   Last week, a gf  via Facebook invite with a whopping 20+ of us who RSVPd a solid “YES, I’M IN”, were due to go.   Which only yielded a total of three persons who – actually –  physically – showed up to see  the light-hearted As You Like It under the stars.   (Why do people suck?  Let’s leave that difficult to answer question for another day, shall we?) 😉highpark_racoon2_1300x800

Witheth me doth be the most loveliest of maidens; healthy and svetly Sara and lusty and strong Natalie and in the bushes did lurk musical talents of a local school of young violinists.   We were merry and gay and mosquito burdened. It was a joyous night had by all.

The performance doesn’t begin until about 8pm (dusk-ish).  I got there an hour earlier to secure seats whilst the others were en route from their offices.  The three of us managed to get fabulous dead-center seats of the graduated earth seating  – cleverly lining our sit-on blanket with a $1 shower curtain  to keep the damp out.

Dressing for summer evenings in Toronto hasn’t been easy this year with unseasonably cooler nights.  Which means one must think about serious versatility when outfit planning to sit on one’s ass for 2+ hours, while the sun disappears and you’re left shivering cuddled under a blanket, while trying to stay cute. Plus, we can’t forget the inevitable use of a portapotty – dun dun dunnnnn.. 🙂

Keeping all of this in mind, here’s what I came up with to help keep me summer cute & comfortable while the sun was in full-force ,while protecting my freshly washed hair from bugs…

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How I Got the Look:  White patterned crop top and Tribal pants both from Forever21; Pink leather floral sandals (uber old from The Bay);  Aviator sunnies from ElleHardware; Headscarf is vintage, picked it up at the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show earlier this year.

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My headscarf was a last-minute addition to my outfit of the day.   Since much of my outfit was a simple black N white colour scheme….I made sure that the scarf had loud vibrant colours in it – a Summery punch, if you will.    With light rain threats in the forecast that evening, I simply wanted to protect my hair…but didn’t want to wear a hat and possibly be an irritating obstacle to another play-goer with the unfortunate luck of sitting behind me in the park.  So this seemed to be the best solution.

I wanted to do wear a more sophisticated head wrap but alas, none of them looked right on my pea-head.  Maybe, with practice, I’ll rock a few more of these techniques in the near future — thoughts? 🙂

Fab video of 12 wraps in under 7-mins

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Shakespeare isn’t everyones cupa tea … I never read/studied this particular play in school before, and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it…and I didn’t even need to read the Coles Notes before hand. 🙂

There were some fantastic lines in this one…with some hilarious female characters, one of whom is AUDREY who won me over with the following line:

I am not a slut, though I thank the gods I am foul.

Over the past few years, I’ve been more of a “skirts and dresses kinda gal”….but for sitting outdoors at dusk with bugs and cool temperatures, and the possible use of a portapotty at some point in the evening, made pants the best option!  These are lovely and light for summer-daytime, keeps your legs from getting bitten by bugs in the evening and comfortable enough to be sitting crossed legged cuddling on and under a blanket.

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Are you a fan of theatre – outdoor theatre?

Which ones have you been to….any recommends for me?

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Summertime Simple

BBQ invitations are in full force … and I’m lovin’ it!

So fun, flirty, light-weight summer dresses is what I’m all over when it comes to going from the heat of daytime sun into the wee hours of late night drinking in someone’s backyard or balcony.

Like this easy-peasy summertime look I put together the other weekend:

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Waddya think of this cute lil’ cherry tote I picked up from Forever21?   Not only is it oh-so cute…. It’s perfect for BYOB and for carrying along pot-luck contributions to shindigs 🙂

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Depending on what time these BBQ get-to-gethers take place have ultimately been the determining factor on whether I’m bringing along sun-protection aka a HAT!

I picked up this simple wicker fedora from The Public Butter (vintage shop on WQW) and it has worked with basically ever summer outfit I’ve thrown together.

Don’t believe me?  Take a look at Exhibits A, B and C below:

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Exhibit A: Best Summer Fedora Ever!
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Exhibit B: Best Summer Fedora Ever!
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Exhibit C: Best Summer Fedora Ever! (Too much sun & sangria this day) 🙂

How I Got The Look:

Layered strapless dress from Old Navy; Navy peep-toed flats from Payless Shoes; Wicker Fedora from The Public Butter; Cherry Tote from Forever21; Seashell necklace, earrings and bracelet souvenirs  from Dominican Republic, Cuba & Halifax, respectively 😉

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What’s your easy-peasy Summertime BBQ outfit of choice friends?  Tell me in the comments section!

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