Inspiration everywhere

LogoEarlier this week, image consultant and fashion blogger, Brenda Kinsel, offered readers of her Tips & Teasers Facebook page this challenge:

“See all the colors in the background of this pic? Using any colors in this palette create an imaginary outfit – pants, top, jacket, jewels, etc. Tell us what it looks like!”

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Rather than creating an imaginary outfit, I shopped my closet and this is what I came up with.

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It’s a casual look built entirely of neutrals, but I think the pattern in the top lifts it out of drab. The grey skinny jeans, oatmeal cardigan, and black pearl necklace are all cabi from previous seasons. The taupe ankle boots are also several years old. Only the sleeveless V-neck top from Cleo, one of my favourite Canadian brands, is new.

Who would have thought that anyone could take fashion inspiration from a rusty old wall of corrugated metal? Brenda, that’s who! I absolutely love her blog and have learned so much from her. She seems to find inspiration everywhere!

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Thank you, Brenda! Obviously I need to start looking at old walls and other random things with a new eye!

 

Pendants for a Cause

LogoOne of the things that I enjoy about blogging is connecting with readers and other bloggers around the world. This week, I “met” Dr. Phoebe Chi, an internal medicine and public health physician and author, when she liked last Friday’s post and began following my blog.

In September of this year, after hearing about the devastation in the Bahamas caused by Hurricane Dorian, Phoebe wanted to do something. She was aware of the dire need for medical care and resources, but even with her formal training as a physician, she felt helpless to do anything to meet these needs.

With nothing but a few small pieces of sea glass, a pair of pliers, an assortment of wires, and a deep desire to give hope and help to those whose lives had been devastated, Phoebe decided to put her artistic skills to work and Pendants for a Cause was born!

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For the first month, all proceeds from the sale of the necklaces were donated to help meet the emergency health needs of Hurricane Dorian victims. Once those needs were met, the focus of Pendants for a Cause changed to another passion of Dr. Chi’s. Proceeds now go toward helping children around the world with heart conditions get the life-saving surgeries they need.

All Pendants for a Cause are available here. I think the wire wrapped necklaces are my favourites. I absolutely love these two.

Sea glass comes in every colour imaginable and some of Phoebe’s pendants are personalized with tiny charms. Perhaps it’s time to do some Christmas shopping!

In addition to necklaces, there are also earrings to choose from.

As one who loves to wander a beach looking for bits of glass that have been softened by the sea, I wondered how Phoebe was able to find enough to continue producing her jewelry. She told me that she has two sources. Most of her pieces are genuine, bought from a friend who lives in Italy. “She literally has a beach in her backyard that is full of them,” said Phoebe. I must admit that I’m terribly envious! The round pieces, used to make earrings like the ones shown on the left above, are cultured glass produced in a tumbler and purchased from a distributor.

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Dr. Phoebe Chi wearing one of her own creations.

 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I have not been compensated in any way. Information and photographs provided by Pendants for a Cause.

Canada’s going black and white for NET Cancer Day!

November 10 is World NET Cancer Day, a day set aside to raise awareness of neuroendocrine cancer, the uncommon disease that I’ve been fighting for the past six years. It’s our day to be heard by decision makers, health professionals and the general public. In addition to raising awareness, we want to encourage more funds for research, treatments, and patient support; and to advocate for equal access to care and treatment for NETS patients around the world.

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Zebra stripes symbolize how this rare cancer can go undetected for many years. Medical students are taught when hearing hoofbeats, to think of horses, not zebras. Neuroendocrine tumours are difficult to diagnose. Though they are the fastest growing class of cancers worldwide, their symptoms are usually vague and similar to more common health problems.  Many family doctors have never encountered a NETs patient. When presented with symptoms like stomach pain and diarrhea, they naturally think of things like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease or lactose intolerance. They think of horses, not zebras. As a result, NETs is frequently misdiagnosed.

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It would appear, however, that through the tireless efforts of NETs patients and advocates, we’re beginning to be heard. This year on November 10, the following landmarks across Canada are lighting up in black and white for NET Cancer Day!

  • City Hall  –  Vancouver, British Columbia
  • High Level Bridge  –  Edmonton, Alberta
  • Calgary Tower  –  Calgary, Alberta
  • City Hall  –  Lethbridge, Alberta
  • CN Tower  –  Toronto, Ontario
  • City Hall Towers  –  Toronto, Ontario
  • Niagara Falls  –  Niagara Falls, Ontario
  • Hamilton Signature Sign  –  Hamilton, Ontario
  • Tower of Olympic Stadium (Parc Olympique)  –  Montreal, Quebec

If you’re near one of these locations on Sunday, I hope you’ll stop, take a photo, and post it on social media with the hashtag #LetsTalkAboutNETs @cnetscanada. Every bit of exposure helps raise awareness and may contribute to someone getting a quicker diagnosis.

 

 

I want to age like sea glass

LogoOne of the things that I love doing whenever I’m at the coast is beachcombing; walking the shoreline listening to the surf and searching for shells, driftwood, and bits of sea glass. Sharing that time with my two coastal grandsons is even better!

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Spending time with my very elderly father as well as these two boys doesn’t leave much time for writing about fashion, so this week I’m simply going to share this beautiful poem that was found on a fitting room door in a shop on Sanibel Island off the west coast of Florida.

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Growing up with gnomes

Our two BC grandsons are growing up in a world of magic. There are gnomes living in the forest near their North Vancouver home. When the boys were younger, we’d often explore the forest looking for gnome homes.

The closest we ever came to finding one was this little gnome gate.

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Now that the boys are in school and busy with other organized activities and play dates with friends, it’s been quite awhile since we’ve gone into the forest together, but the gnomes are still very much a part of their lives. Many years ago, our son and daughter-in-law installed a tiny gnome door on the outer wall of the family room so that the little men can come and go whenever they want. Though they never show up in the daytime, it’s obvious that they sometimes visit at night. They always decorate around their door for special occasions like Halloween and Christmas and they often leave tiny gifts for the boys.

In a world that is increasingly filled with stress and fear, I’m glad that there is also magic and wonder, imagination and creativity, and I’m thankful for parents who make the effort to nurture it!

Hike to Mystery Lake

Much of our time since we arrived in Vancouver a little over a week ago has been taken up dealing with issues pertaining to my elderly father’s declining health, but this weekend we’ve changed gears and we’re on grandparent duty while our son and daughter-in-law enjoy a short getaway without kids. Alhough the temperature was only 5ºC (41ºF) when we got up this morning, the sun was shining and we decided to take the boys on a mountain hike.

It’s been almost two years since our snowshoe adventures on Mount Seymour, but we took the same road that zigzags up the mountainside to the ski resort. Locating the trailhead near the bottom of the ski lift, we set off for Mystery Lake.

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Though the Vancouver Trails website calls this an easy hike, I tend to agree with those who left comments saying that it’s significantly more challenging than that. It’s fairly short, but steep, ascending approximately 150 metres over slippery tree roots and loose rocks. It was also quite wet and icy this morning which made it a bit more arduous than it might be during the summer months when, on hot days, people hike up to the lake to picnic and swim.

Although the hike was a bit more challenging than we expected, it was well worth it for the beauty that greeted us when Mystery Lake came into view.

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We sat on a rocky bluff along the shoreline and ate our picnic lunch. Though the lake wasn’t frozen yet, we had no desire to plunge in for a swim! In fact, the boys had lots of fun playing with the ice on the puddles.

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Rather than returning by the same trail we climbed up, we headed toward the Mystery Chairlift and went down the rocky path directly below it. Though not as scenic, it was an easy descent.

I didn’t think about the fact that we might fit in a hike while we’re here, so I didn’t bring my hiking shoes. I was impressed, however, to find that my golden sneakers managed the trail without any problem! They provided plenty of grip even on the most difficult parts.

Corduroy comeback

LogoI still remember my favourite corduroy bell bottoms from the 1970s. They were a warm toffee colour with dark brown patch pockets. Though its roots go back to ancient Egypt, corduroy as we know it today has been around since the late 18th century when it first appeared as factory wear in Manchester, England. It remained a working class fabric for the next hundred years before becoming a popular alternative to denim in the 1960s. While its popularity probably peaked in the 1970s, corduroy has never completely disappeared from the fashion world and it has been making a comeback this fall. Pants, skirts, jackets, and even dresses are showing up in this comfortable, easy care fabric.

The only corduroy garment in my present closet is this pair of tan pants.

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Unlike most corduroy, with its characteristic ribs, these are made of uncut corduroy which more closely resembles a very short napped velvet. A traditional five pocket skinny jean style, these cotton pants with just a hint of spandex came from Reitman’s, Canada’s largest womens’ clothing retailer, and are amongst the most comfortable in my closet. The only problem with them is that they’re several years old and beginning to show some wear. Perhaps this season would be a good time to find a replacement. Similar pair here.

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I’m wearing the cords with the Wonder Tee from cabi’s Fall 2019 Collection. You’ve seen the ultra light down vest from Uniqlo here and here and the gold sneakers that I wore all over Europe in May here.