Saturday, 31 July 2010
Hi Everyone! Thanks for all your lovely comments on my last few posts! I'll be back on Monday to visit you all in return! In the meantime, I'll the the one with blue toenails under the third umbrella on the left, wearing 50 SPF!
Oh, and please feel free to follow me any way that floats your boat!
Posted by Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys at 04:51
Thursday, 29 July 2010
Last week I posted about my adventures with the Slow Food movement in Guadalajara. There was a rather Mexican side effect from that evening: some slow food poisoning... it wasn't too bad though. I've definitely had worse in this country!
While the cause wasn't much fun the effect kind of was: I put on the most colourful shirt I could find, lay around in day-old makeup (am I the only one who enjoys the casually debauched feeling this brings?) and indulged myself by reading children's lit and magazines. All in all quite a successful afternoon!
When there's a gray fuzz in your head, a rainbow shirt, tea, and pink toenails are the only answers
add a candy-coloured pillow and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
I didn't have a hangover, but it's fun to be dramatic!
and it's best if your reading material matches your candy-coloured world
Sofie-Ann didn't get the style memo...
tank top: Calvin Klein (sleepwear)
rainbow blouse: Vintage from decomposed tree on Etsy
sunglasses: from Sanborns
Sofie-Ann: from Cape Town
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
I love the city (whichever city that happens to be) but sometimes it's great to get out of it for a weekend, and enjoy some fresh air and a slower pace of life. With that in mind, I flipped through my guidebook to the Guadalajara region and discovered a little place called Mazamitla, described as a small mountain town with pine-scented air, two and a half hours away.
Almost four hours after setting off we arrived (grrr, Mexico) to find a town that has been taken over as a weekend retreat by the middle and upper class of Guadalajara. I've always loved my weekend getaways in Mexico, but this place was just scary! So, for anyone who's interested, here is how you ruin a perfectly lovely little town:
Take a perfectly pretty town square... and then let maniacs on quad bikes tear through it all day and night...
Then, take a pristine mountain forest and fill it with paved-over, orange, american style cabin monstrosities... I'm not kidding!
Oh and get some horses and treat them badly. I wouldn't actually have ridden the horses, as I didn't agree much with their treatment and am, as you can see, quite allergic! But well, it was an hour's walk up hill or twenty minutes of sneezing...
Mazamitla was, to put it nicely, a horrible place and a disaster of tourist development, but we did manage to find a few photogenic angles!
For a day of hiking and horse-riding I wore:
denim capris: Winners
embroidered blouse: Desigual
earrings: Spank in Vancouver
An ancient sleepover bag from Sears with a beaded dancing man from a craft show : )
...And, in exciting news... I have two wonderful sisters, and one of them is coming to visit me for a month! In fact, I've really got to go figure out how to get to the airport by bus now... but here she is, wearing absolutely ridiculous and absolutely fake Versace sunglasses bought on a beach in Mexico last year!
Monday, 26 July 2010
Friday, 23 July 2010
At a goodbye party in Barcelona with a friend people always thought was my sister
When I buy clothes, I prefer to buy things I can see myself wearing for years. Obviously this is more economical, but an added bonus is that when I wear something I've had for a long time, I can remember all the fun I've had wearing it.
I bought the dress from yesterday's post in 2008, when I was living in Barcelona, and though I've worn it many times since then, I always associate it most with that city. One night that I remember well and that I have pictures from was a night during the Festes de Sants. In Barcelona, many of the little neighbourhoods that make up the city were once towns and villages in their own right, and during the summer they have celebrations: street parties with decorations, food, and music. Sants was the neighbourhood where I lived at the time, and I made it out on the last night, in my (then new) dress. I might not look too happy in the first picture, but I was just exhausted.
Excuse the photo quality on this occasion please! They were taken at night with a mobile phone!
In the second and third picture you can see something typical of Catalan culture: a castell. (Castell means castle in Catalan). Castells are human towers, made by one person standing on another's shoulders until the tower is quite high, and finally a child climbs up to be on top. This castell was very small and spontaneous (and walking through the streets like it's completely normal) but they can be quite large and impressive.
Here are some I saw randomly one morning going out for breakfast:
And here's what they are capable of!
photo from calavellfalo on flickr
Thanks for taking a tour down memory lane with me! Do you have any item of clothing that you still wear that brings back some fun memories?
Thursday, 22 July 2010
Last week the man who runs the cafe nearest to my apartment told me that he was hosting an evening of "Slow Food," and in the name of getting out more, I decided to go.
When I used to teach English, there was a unit in one of the books about Slow Food, so I was able to drone away to anyone who would listen, "Slow Food is a movement that started in Italy in the '90s as a rebellion against the culture of McDonalds, eating on the run, the accelerated North American lifestyle, etc. etc." My boyfriend thought it meant the food took forever to arrive. This also proved to be true!
Anyway, it was a nice evening, of wine, tequila, meeting new people, and trying new foods. The food itself was quite nice, although the portions were tiny. I usually finish dinner looking like an African orphan with a distended belly, but this time I felt like an African orphan and would have headed straight to McDonalds if it wasn't so contrary to the nature of the evening! I did end up getting up at five in the morning to eat a banana!
The chef, Jaime Lubin, had a hilarious way of talking about food. "Now we shall have nopales, done in the traditional napolitana style." My boyfriend and I snorted into our tequila at that point, since nopales are an edible Mexican cactus and I'm pretty sure the Italians have never heard of them in their lives! But this guy has some funny ideas in general. Last time we met him, he told us that Mexico had never been a Spanish colony.
And here's me, on the terrace before dinner! The dress is from Spanish department store El Corte Ingles. I just love the puffed sleeves! The earrings are handmade by Vanja Brankovic in Vancouver.
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
I got back to Guadalajara on a Wednesday, spent Thursday and Friday staring at the wall impossibly jet-lagged, and Saturday and Sunday in bed with a cold I picked up on the plane. On Monday I went out and promptly got caught in a tropical downpour, and spent Tuesday and Wednesday in bed with another cold! So, a week after returning, I finally managed to stumble up and into the world of my living room...
Interestingly, I think this new top of mine would be considered to be part of this summer's "nude" trend, although as you can see, it's almost green on me. In fact, I've yet to see a "nude" item that actually looks like anybody's real skin tone.
My hair made a bid for freedom during this photo, but it gives better contrast to the earring, so we'll let it go! ; )
Top, Paul and Joe Sister; Shorts, Etxart & Panno, Shoes, Liz Claiborne; Earrings: Handcrafted by Vanja Brankovic, Amity Design Studio, Vancouver; anklet... oh, ancient, from a market in Vancouver
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
I may have gone to England with only carry-on, but I knew myself well enough to include a backpack in that carry-on, so I could check the case on the way back. As was inevitably necessary.
In fact, I was pretty good. The Oxford shoes above I'd actually bought on ebay and had them shipped to the family in Canada, so this was just me picking them up. But otherwise, well, there were sales, and England is just so much fun...
The cheapest teapot I'd seen in Mexico was $50! Apparently drinking tea is a bit of a niche activity here. So I took advantage of being in England to buy a better one for £4. Yorkshire tea and Heather honey round out my taste-bud nostalgia. Heather honey is made from heather that grows on the Yorkshire moors, and has a unique, strong and wild taste. Mmmmmm.....
A wonderful colourful floral dress that will doubtless be making many more appearances
Books in English! Perfection! These are all children's books, and there's a reason for that... the reason is not that I'm a child, but it will wait until another post!
A shirt from Paul and Joe Sister that came free with a magazine (bonus!) and some new nailpolish that called to me and sucked up to me and demanded I buy them from the duty free (too much time in an airport is a bad thing).
Incidentally, I usually come back from international flights looking very much like this:
I just can't resist trying everything on. I am the scourge of duty-free make-up shops! Does anyone else enjoy this as much as I do?
Monday, 19 July 2010
No trip to Whitby is complete without visiting the churchyard and the ruined abbey that sit mournfully on the cliff above the town. And so on my last morning there, I climbed the 199 steps to visit the weatherbeaten tombstones. Though it's a small place, Whitby has played host to two important literary figures. Bram Stoker was influenced by the undeniable gothic atmosphere, and set a part of his famous novel Dracula here. The undead count arrives in England aboard a ship of ghosts, guided by a dead captain who has tied himself to the wheel, and comes ashore in Whitby in the form of a great black dog. I've never been to a place more appropriate for his arrival, and the British Goths obviously agree with me: every year around Hallowe'en is "Goth Weekend," and they descend on the town en masse.
The other literary figure is Caedmon, not very much read these days, but he was the earliest known (by name) English poet. He wrote "Caedmon's Hymn," a frankly pretty boring poem about God which I studied in Anglo-Saxon literature and which supposedly came to him in a dream. He was a herdsman living at Whitby Abbey in the 7th century, back when Whitby was called Streonæshalch (an Anglo-Saxon name as opposed to the norse name it later acquired). While not by favourite poet, (or even my favourite Anglo-Saxon poet, hehe) I did feel a need to pose with his commemorative cross (quite modern).
Outfit is: Dress: Vero Moda, Cardigan: Current, Shoes: Steve Madden via ebay (A bit of a uniform on this trip, but I only brought carry-on luggage)!
I also like to think I was channeling my grandmother a little in this picture. Here she is, many years ago, on the moors nearby:
And finally, a little bit of landscape porn, since I love the area so much, I'm not sure when I'll be back, and really, can't I be self-indulgent on my own blog? ; )
A solitary ice-cream truck on the moors, and the donkeys on Whitby beach. When I was a kid I always rode the donkeys and I knew all of their names!
Images taken at sunset
Friday, 16 July 2010
I've always loved the jet jewellery you can buy in Whitby, for its dark, gothic nature and its Victorian history. Jet is a semi precious stone that is actually fossilized wood, and Whitby is famous for it, and I believe the only source of high quality jet. There are countless shops selling everything from simple stud earrings to enormous carved antique collars, and it's about the only souvenir worth having, for a price of course.
Jet jewellery was popularized by Queen Victoria, who mourned her husband Prince Albert until her own death forty years later. I found this fascinating and mind-boggling quote while looking into the subject:
As with many aspects of their strained moral earnestness, Victorians reflected Queen Victoria in her habits and ethics. Thus, strict mourning customs came into fashion. Mourning widows were not allowed to leave their homes without full black attire and a weeping veil for one year and a day (called “full mourning) after her husband’s death. During “second mourning,” the next nine months, the widow was allowed some small ornamentation, like mourning jewelry and lacy embellishments to her black attire.
-from the very interesting article "The Art of Mourning," on the webpage Curious Expeditions
The antique jet mourning jewellery remains my favourite, and I dream of one day possessing a brooch such as the one Gwyneth Paltrow's character wears in the movie Possession.
Or pieces like these.
Unfortunately, the jet I like best is extraordinarily expensive. I keep hoping that on one visit to Whitby I'll go into the shop, another year older and perhaps a little richer/more successful, and the prices will seem only a little exaggerated. However, this time I went in and saw a lovely bracelet rather like this one:
For about £650. Pounds. Oh well, perhaps in about twenty years!
However, my mother, on a visit this spring while my Grannie was still alive, did buy my two sisters and I a simpler, modern jet pendent each. I love its smooth roundness and the lovely silver filigree reverse side. Of course I wore it to the funeral: nothing could be more appropriate.
And a further nod to mourning jewellery, if only in looks: hand carved ebony flower earrings, done by carver (and dancer, actor and singer) Todd Woffinden, Granville Island, Vancouver.