Fashionable People, Questionable Things

L-A: So, as part of my day job, I’m often trolling the Facebook pages of major retailers. And I’ve noticed something that I can’t ignore: culottes.

McCalls Culottes

In case you’re not sure, the definition for modern ladies (these things apparently existed as far back as the French Revolution, but for dudes) is that it’s a split skirt. So you can look lady like while being active and doing things like gardening, bicycling and horseback riding. Which, when you think about it, makes it the tampon of ladies’ fashions. Which makes me wonder why we would ever want to bring these back?

Nancy Drews Culottes

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A mystery that even TV Nancy Drew couldn’t solve.

I mean, I guess they’re better than a skort because they’re only sort of pretending to be a skirt. But honestly? Why you no wear a skirt instead?

Yet, here they are from Forever 21.

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Like a sloppy tea length skirt, but with leg holes. Because we’re all dying to wear something as universally flattering as a tea-length skirt, cutting us off at the calves, but slightly more practical.

And here they are at TOPSHOP in Toronto:

TOPSHOP - culottes

 

Honestly I’m having trouble getting on board with this idea. If the Forever 21 model, who is literally paid to make clothes look good, can’t make it look like a sane choice, what hope do the rest of us have?

I am willing to admit that maybe the fast fashion version of the culotte is where the real trouble is. That there are wearable culottes that don’t immediately strike you as baggy, unflattering, short pants. I’ve seen street style photos and NYFW photos of culottes that almost make sense. Or maybe I’m just too old for this shit.

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But culottes as a thing are not making sense to me at all. Hard pass on this spring trend.

L-A: If you’re a long time reader of us, then you’ll remember the Marc Jacobs Incident of a few years ago and my non-stop whining about it. If you’re new, then here’s the story in a nutshell: I found a dark green Marc by Marc Jacobs hobo bag for maybe $200. I had $200 to blow on whatever I wanted (this is why I do craft shows). I let myself get talked out of the bag, bought Kate Spade, got buyers remorse and brought it back in hopes of remedying the situation. But alas! Someone else had the Marc Jacobs bag and I was filled with regrets. Regrets over a leather bag that have lasted far too long.

I’ve since bought myself quality bags (like a solid non-Coach-y Coach black leather and a Longchamps nylon bag) and really, as much as I love a good purse, I don’t need any more of them. But still, I dreamed of that bag. And whenever I hit the outlets with cash in my pocket, I looked to see if I could find one like it. I knew my collection just wouldn’t be complete until I filled the void left by that bag.

And you know what? Bitches, I did it.

My photography skills haven't improved, but my shopping has.

My photography skills haven’t improved during our hiatus, but my shopping has.

 

Meet my very own Marc by Marc Jacobs Q Hillier Hobo. We’re a little bit in love with each other right now.

Because I’m a lazy photographer, here’s what the bag looks like when it’s in black and has a professional taking a photo of it:

MarcbyMJ - Classic Q Hillier Hobo

 

 

She’s a beaut, non?

I believe the colour I chose was cardamom, but I’m going to call it “Marsala-adjacent” so it seems like I’m up on the whole colour of the year thing. There was much debating in-store over whether I wanted black or a colour. There were super cute colours (which were on super sale), but let’s face it, I’d grow tired of a turquoise bag (you see, I was being really sensible about this decision). Since I already have a black leather bag, a classic deep colour makes sense. And the more I look at/wear this purse, the more I love the colour I did pick.  I was also smart and remembered that I need a purse that can go crossbody. Carrying a purse on my arm isn’t my jam and it’s only going to get worse on that front (again, I was uncharacteristically sensible). And god bless the expansion of the Cabazon outlets to include a Marc by Marc Jacobs store, because it only cost me about $200. All those hours of embroidering Heritage Minutes paid off.

And with that, the Shopping Gods have been appeased. I’m no longer filled with regret and the Marc Jacobs Incident is merely a footnote in my shopping history. Also, I can stop buying purses. At least until I can afford something ridiculous like a Mulberry bag, but that’s a purchase I can wait for.

Ally: Not unlike the other 45,907,84 people around entry into 2015, I decided to embark on a “personal awakening” of sorts. For those who know me personally, or who are friends with me on Facebook where I lay out my entire life, 2014 was both a challenging and inspiring year – but it was also one where I didn’t focus a lot of myself or my health needs. As a result, I was about to entire 2015 feeling lethargic, unmotivated and basically like a freshly steamed bag of shit.

I decided to make some drastic changes. First step: Join the gym.

Ally joins the Gym

So insufferable are gym people, I know, and I vow to try really hard to not be that jerk. I joined with the masses right around January 1st, so I was on the receiving end of a lot of social media scorn for being a “newbie”, the term insufferable gym people use for their fellow humans who have the audacity to get up the courage to walk their out of shape molds into a facility with unflattering lights and supermodels wearing lululemon.

In addition to being a newbie who was ruthlessly and remorselessly stealing “regulars'” parking spots and “favourite machines (Seriously? SERIOUSLY? ), I decided to go the distance and hire a personal trainer for a few sessions to mind me how to like, do stuff at the gym. This, in my opinion, was well worth the money. If any of you go to the Goodlife at Larry Uteck, and are interested in a personal trainer, I highly recommend Richard Hope. He’s a lovely guy who knows his stuff and who manages to not make you feel massively out-of-shape despite the fact that he takes the 25 pound weight you were using for your squat and holds it like it is a kleenex. He also calls you “young lady” in a totally non-misogynostic way even though you both know that you’re on the wrong side of 35.

Seeing the trainer for those sessions made me commit to a routine. I was hooked, and I plan to be by next year for all the “regulars” who are reading. Plus I bought two pairs of lululemon tights so that I too can weld the stepper machine feeling like a supermodel.

With sheer panels, but not in the bum area!

With sheer panels, but not in the bum area!

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In addition to the strengh training exercises that I worked on with Richard, I also wanted to step up my cardio game. Instead of just going for boring runs on the treadmill, I’ve been using the stepper and making the treadmill interesting by doing some different intervals.

This is a treadmill plan from Jillian Michaels. I really liked it, but will increase my sprint speed next time.

This is a treadmill plan from Jillian Michaels. I really liked it, but will increase my sprint speed next time.

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Also, this thing?

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…terrifying.

Ally uses the Kitchen

Again, if you know me, you know that I am not the chef in our family. That’s my husband, El Jeffe, and he’s great at the job. With an interest in focusing on nutrition, and making sure I was properly fueling my body (omg I am becoming insufferable, aren’t I?), I started to prep food for the work week to make sure I wasn’t resorting to snacks that were not doing anything for me, or carb-loading which was making me flat-out exhausted. I turned to Pinterest and I have not looked back.

Egg muffins

Equal parts selected veggies, meat (I usually use leftovers from supper), and 1/4 cup of liquid egg whites into each muffin cup. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Equal parts selected veggies, meat (I usually use leftovers from supper), and 1/4 cup of liquid egg whites into each muffin cup. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

These are so delicious, I keep them in the fridge for the week, and take two out each morning heating for 30 seconds. Add a bit of hot sauce and voila!

Salads

kalesalad

Kale, Avocado, cherry tomatoes, yellow pepper, lemon and garlic tuna.

Quinoa

I’ve been loving Quinoa as a replacement for my much-loved pasta. I cook it in chicken broth from time to time to give it a bit of extra taste.

Baking off Chicken and Salmon

I work from home, but I keep a pretty rigid schedule breaking for lunch around 11:30am. I don’t want to take a lot of time preparing a meal. So on the weekends, I’ve started to bake off a bunch of chicken breasts and salmon to keep in the freezer and pull out throughout the week.

Nothing fancy here, but I did end up drizzling some maple syrup/balsamic salad dressing over the salmon. Paired with wild mushroom couscous and cherry tomatoes which I'm obsessed with.

Nothing fancy here, but I did end up drizzling some maple syrup/balsamic salad dressing over the salmon. Paired with wild mushroom couscous and cherry tomatoes which I’m obsessed with.

Yah, I'm really, really into tomatoes and colourful peppers. It's a problem.

Yah, I’m really, really into tomatoes and colourful peppers. It’s a problem.

So far, so good. I’m really trying to get to the gym at least four times during the week and I take the weekends off since it’s really busy with two small kids. I’m finding the exercise combined with the better focus on nutrition has made a dramatic difference for my energy levels, mental clarity and my issues with anxiety. I have obsessive compulsive disorder, which is tough to manage on the best days, not to mention when I’m sleep deprived and am not getting enough physical activity.

I’m proud of myself, and I want to keep it up, which is why I’m documenting it here in the hopes that come January 2016 I’ll be rolling my eyes at the newbies who dared to look at my favourite stepper machine.

Fashionable People, Questionable Things.