Sunday, 27 February 2011
I'm feeling a bit braindead tonight, after reading the world's most tedious article, so I'll keep it short (short for me): favourite sweater+coffee outdoors+favourite square in Barcelona= A+
The square in question is in front of the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, or MACBA. It's an impressive white and glass building that shines like a beacon as you emerge from the narrow streets into the centre of the Raval district. Raval is an area that continues to resist gentrification: posh new condos were put up, but the dodginess couldn't be weeded out of the neighbourhood and the yuppies are apparently leaving in droves again.
The skateboarders remain, despite official attempts to ban them. ; )
Photos by Albert
dress: H&M (old old old)
shirt: Pure by Alfred Sung
sweater: vintage hand-me-down
belt: vintage Mom's
shoes: Steve Madden via ebay
bag: handmade in Vancouver
Now, on to the title. "Poses" is one of my favourite songs by Rufus Wainwright, and I was definitely made to feel like a poser by this little boy:
who ran into my picture. I tried to get him back to take more pictures, but he just ran off and cackled at me from a safe distance...
Last but not least, I'm including a slightly cheesy, but ultimately sweet video featuring my lovely sometime home of Barcelona. The city looks beautiful as always, and it's a wonderful testimony to the end of an era in a life.
Friday, 25 February 2011
I promise this will go back to being a fashion blog soon, but I felt that I couldn't let Valentine's pass without an outfit post so...
My boyfriend took me (well, us) to Andorra to go snowboarding for Valentine's Day. As I said before, I don't really celebrate it much, but we figured we would have done something decadent for my week's holiday so we might as well coordinate it. I took us out for dinner. And then we both staggered home with our bruises declaring "don't touch me!" Neither of us really knew how to snowboard before, so we were a bit sore to say the least.
Andorra is a curious country: beautiful scenery and quite an ugly little city. The economy could be described as a combination of Switzerland (skiing and tax evasion) and the duty-free lounge in Heathrow Airport ("shop till you drop")!
Have you had an eye full of that jacket yet? Now imagine it... in duplicate! Yep, I was wearing Albert's brother's jacket from when he was twelve, Albert was wearing his own from when he was fifteen, and apparently their mom thought matching sons was a good way of keeping track... The three days in Andorra were definitely the least stylish of my life (it didn't help that the snowboarding pants were all sold out in my size so I was wearing them three sizes too big). Hehe. Sometimes it's quite liberating to be deeply, deliberately unstylish for a bit. And it was certainly comfortable.
I was given this sweater about two weeks ago and have worn it at least ten days out of the fourteen. It was Albert's mom's from the seventies, and I am completely in love. I've stated before that I don't much like "basics" or "classic, key pieces," and that the Céline-esque collections make me really bored, but I think actually it's upper-class classic style that I don't like, and actually I really like folk pieces, or classic working-man's style.
In fact, while in Andorra I started reading the wonderful Travels with Charley in Search of America, by John Steinbeck. It's a memoir of Steinbeck's travels in the 1960s with his dog, and at one point he describes a group of French Canadian labourers harvesting potatoes in Maine:
"The women and girls wore pants usually of corduroy and thick sweaters, and they covered their heads with bright-colored scarves to protect their hair from the dust that rises from the fields with the smallest wind."
Note to self for next fall...
Photos by Albert
Thursday, 24 February 2011
This was one of those days where I wasn't expecting much. We biked into Barcelona downtown in the morning to buy my super-sexy Valentine's Day costume (hehe, not exactly, I'll show you next time). After struggling through the crowds of shoppers--what recession?--we were distracted by the old roman cemetery in one of the squares in the Gothic Quarter. The cemetery used to be behind a gate, closed off, and full of garbage and resident cats, but it's been cleaned up and opened to the public. Pictures are above. Quite cool to stand by the grave of a midwife from 2000 years ago!
From an extremely I'm-not-paid-to-be-friendly girl behind a desk, we learned that it was the day of the patron Saint, or Saintess if you like, of Barcelona, Santa Eulàlia, and accordingly there were all sorts of culturally significant sites open and events going on. We detoured to explore the Barcelona Town Hall, which was pretty impressive.
This room was done up in red and yellow stripes, like the Catalan flag.
The had some statues of giants chilling in the courtyard. These giants are very typical and are always taken out for cultural street festivals.
(I was so happy to get this shot) ; )
Sant Jordi (Saint George) is the patron saint of Catalonia
Photos (except the giants) by Albert
Some photos were taken with the digital camera and some with the 1970s Pentax, which is a really nice camera. Those are the ones with impressive levels of bokeh (pretentious camera-geek speak for blurred background)
shoes: Steve Madden
Monday, 21 February 2011
I'm not much of one for thinking of outfit inspiration before the fact (anyway it's too depressing if you can't buy anything) but I bought a magazine for the first time in ages the other day, and a couple of ads jumped out at me for being just. so. perfect.
Above is from Orla Kiely. I think I'd need everything to make this work. The neutral toned dress is pretty great, but is taken to a whole new level by the yellow shoes (I've been wanting yellow shoes since 2004) and the mint ice cream coloured bag. And the dinosaur. This look wouldn't work at all without the dinosaur. ; )
And then inspiration from a less likely source. I've never been into United Colour of Benetton's clothing much, but I'm loving the look on the blonde girl. Buttoned up cotton blouse, neutral toned jumper, Spanish-espadrille style flat shoes in a bright colour...
The same ingredients for success, but with awesome candy-coloured skirts as well. I can so imagine swishing around Barcelona dressed like this. Of course, it kind of depends on where I spend the summer. In Barcelona or in Canada, all these would be perfect. If I stay in London, I'll probably be dressed like this:
(from You Must Create's lookbook)
Which is still a pretty great look, don't get me wrong! I guess it's set to be a fail-proof summer... : )
Sunday, 20 February 2011
I'm baaaaack! That was the longest I've disappeared from the blog since I started, but I think the break from everything was definitely needed. Even if that means I have loads of uni work to do now, which I'm avoiding by updating the blog instead! I had a great week in Barcelona: super-laid back, full of really dubious hairstyles, and I think I wore the same sweater for five days in a row, but it was awesome!
I had one of the famous Barcelona experiences, which people have been telling me about since I first went in 2007, but which I'd never managed to catch before--a calçotada. Calçots are large, sweet spring onions that are available for a short time in February and March, typically barbequeued and served with a romesco sauce. Albert and I went to eat calçots (and Catalan sausage and chicken and salad) one sunny Sunday with my ex-flatmate, high on a hill next to the castle and overlooking Barcelona's port. I didn't set my expectations too high, since we're talking about barbequeued onions here, but I thought the calçots were really nice and the tradition absolutely delightful. I'll definitely try to be here at this time of year more often!
You pull the calçots out of their skins, dip them in the sauce...
My ex-flatmate is French, and every bit as travel-happy as I (she just came back from a year in Australia). One of the best people I've lived with; we shared the worst living situation ever: two dark, windowless rooms in a flat with a completely insane Spanish landlord who had ridiculously dim energy-saving lightbulbs installed everywhere, and liked to turn down the water in the toilet to save on the water bill. He also liked leaving passive-agressive notes around the place: "Turn your computer off, don't just put it to sleep. It wastes energy." He was also a big Heavy Metal fan. Bah! Never live with your landlord.
Barcelona has the second busiest port in Europe, I'm told.
Anyway, after all this time in other countries, it was great to reconnect again in lovely Barcelona!
red jeans: Zara
cambric shirt: Pure by Alfred Sung
scarf: charity shop
sunglasses: Sanborns in Mexico
bag: vintage (Mom's)
Oh right. Photos by Albert!
Monday, 14 February 2011
Left to their own devices, my eyebrows would be rather like my grandfather´s...
Valentine´s Day is not a day I typically associate with romance, which is a bit counter-intuitive I realize. For whatever reason, significant others tend not to be in the same country, and even if they were, it´s not my kind of holiday. Romance is for all year round, and not because the marketers tell you to be romantic.
That doesn´t mean I don´t manage to enjoy the day though. Valentine´s has always been a pleasant family day for me. My Dad buys beautiful cards every year for me and my mom and my sisters. My dad has the best taste in cards: they´re always covered in beautiful birds or gold leaf or something. And my mom gives us a chocolate heart, and we all tend to eat a nice dinner. Last year most people were away for one reason or another, so my sister Shona and I went to Commercial Drive in Vancouver, and got ourselves a meal of mussels. We then proceeded to one of Vancouver´s more kitsch coffee shops, full of naked Roman statues, and on that occasion hearts, and had lattes, and finished a calorific day off with my grandfather, my uncle and his girlfriend for Mexican food. All of which I would do again in a heartbeat over an evening of cheesy music and overpriced flowers (not that there´s anything wrong with those, of course).
This was pre-bloglife, but I think I´ve always been a style blogger at heart.
Thanks to everyone who continues to drop by despite my complete absence from commenting. I don´t have my computer with me (which is amazing by the way) but I´ll do my best to catch up when I´m back!
Thursday, 10 February 2011
When I was in Barcelona back in November, Albert dug out his father's old Pentax something something (look how well I know my cameras, oops) and took a few photos the old fashioned way. Here's a candid one from this photoshoot, and I have to say, I just love the way it came out.
Film photos have an amazing ambiance compared with digital, I feel. I resisted getting a digital camera for a long time, and while it was absolutely necessary finally to cave (ridiculous moving around with shoe boxes full of photos), there are aspects of film photography that I definitely miss. One is the excitement (or disappointment) of getting your pictures back in a paper envelope, and the other is the peculiar, flattened, yet much more realistic quality of the photos themselves.
The three photos below were taken with Albert's Nikon something something (I'll get on this, promise) from the roof of his apartment building. Again, you can almost feel the January sunshine in a way that is completely different from digital...
looking down on and over Parc Joan Miró.
Birds in the sky... and Sagrada Familia looming behind.
The telecoms tower, the church and the amusement park on Tibidabo.
Things may be a little quiet around here on the blog for the next week. I'm going to Barcelona, and in the spirit of not getting bogged down by technology/there's no room in the damned carry-on, my laptop is staying home. I'll have a little Valentine's Day post however, though perhaps not your typical one...
P.S. If you miss me however, you should check out my ultimate packing guide interview, over here at Beautifully Pure, home of the lovely Katie.
Monday, 7 February 2011
The last few days have been hugely windy. Great gusts throw whirling leaves and birds into the heavy sky, and stray fragments of wind whistle down the chimney and moan in my hearthplace. A perfect night, in short, to imagine myself as a Victorian orphan in an attic.
I've always loved the Victorian period for styling and verging-on-the-sentimental drama, full of girls bereft at an early age who only manage to pull through due to an overactive imagination and innate sense of right and wrong. In London, it's even easier to identify with these past heroines, as I walk past rows of Georgian houses with the top windows overlooking the sparrows among the chimney pots.
What is Victorian Orphan chic? A hungry look, a pale complexion, a too-short but well made dress from days before poverty struck, and a borrowed book for keeping oneself educated. : )
My two favourite Victorian orphan heroines are Emily (of course) from Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery and Sara Crewe from Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess.
I fancy I have their same roving imaginations, curiosity for all kinds of books, and Emily's literary leanings... unlike Sara though, I have no attic rat to make friends with, since the pest control man took care of our resident mice earlier this week.
P.S. If you only know A Little Princess through the abominable film version, don't let that turn you off. A classic example of a bad American remake. No offense to any Americans, but why does Hollywood have to take other cultures' literary and cinematic treasures, and remake them boring and bad, with a miscast American star? On the other hand, there's no excuse for the awful Canadian TV adaptation of the Emily books. It's our own cultural heritage we were destroying there...
velvet dress: vintage
lace: fabric shop
shoes: Camper (they are really comfy, to the person who wanted to know before, and I believe they're available in the States...)
rings: Whitby and Grannie
Friday, 4 February 2011
So... finally I'm posting a few pictures of London. Not an area of London I spend much time in honestly, except when I get kettled in student protests. This however was a beautiful day and evening. The reality here is that usually the light is pretty dreary, and the days when it isn't don't tend to coincide with the weekend. ; ) I'm going to aim to be a bit more camera-happy again though. London is a beautiful city, and chaotic, and hard work, and full of surprising quiet corners. I don't feel at all like I take enough advantage of being here (partly because it's so expensive) but I want to try to see and do more. As Samuel Johnson said, "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life."
photos by Albert and I