At the ball park

Barbecued hot dogs equal summer to me.  The smokiness of the hot dog, combined with the sweet taste of ketchup is a beautiful thing.  Taking these pictures at the baseball park made me think of delicious hot dogs and the lazy days of summer.  

Shirt: tiny beach shop at the cottage // Cardigan: Zeller's // Skirt: Forever XXI // 

Speaking of summer, I bought this top last summer at a cute beachy shop.  Whenever I wear it, it makes me happy.  If you can't make it out, it is covered with shoes.  Brightly coloured high heels, pretty little flats, shoes with bows.  Basically, everything I love :D

Skirt: Forever XXI // Shoes: Globo // 

I was wearing tights with this outfit while at work.  Then, it got boiling hot out... so I [safely] took them off on my drive home.  Showing legs at work after a long winter is dangerous - you don't want to blind anybody ;)

Sunnies: Target // 

These are my new love.  I used to have heart-shaped sunglasses, but one of the arms broke off.  I'd been looking for replacements for awhile when I came across these lovelies.  The polka dots made them an extremely obvious choice.  I kind of feel like a cartoon character when I wear them, with big hearts instead of eyes.  

Although there are no diamonds in play in the park today, I think I'll still grill up some hot dogs... And dream of summer.
♥ Meg xoxo


Ladybug, ladybug

EVERYtime I wear this red skirt with the black polka dots, someone tells me that I look like a ladybug.  I look at them shocked, and pretend that I've never heard the comparison before.  

Top: Garage // Skirt: Giant Tiger //  Headband: Claire's // 

I like the belted bow on the skirt because it's pretty.  BUT it gets in the way of practically every shirt I own.  This results in the tucked in look.  This look always reminds me of my high school Bio teacher.  She rocked all of her shirts neatly tucked into her skirts or pants.  Come to think of it, she was a fab teacher and she wore really high heels everyday. . . Hmm, maybe I should tuck in my shirt more often.

Top: Garage // Skirt: Giant Tiger // Heels: vintage and DIY //

My outfit actually matches today.  There are no contrasting patterns.  Everything is a nice red and black.  I knew that people were going to tell me I looked like a ladybug, so I decided to stick with the theme.  I think that it's nice to take red out of winter and add it to spring.  It's always around in festive Christmas outfits, and makes its way back for Canada Day... but somehow it gets put aside for the pastels and brights of spring.

Heels: vintage and DIY // Tights: Claire's {I think...} // 

So I wore fishnets to work today.  I'm not sure if that's allowed, but I went for it.  I think that if they are worn tastefully, (read: not with thigh high boots and shortie shorts) that they are permitted. 

Have a lovely (and potentially polka dotted) evening, 
♥ Meg xoxo


The Dinner

by Herman Koch

"We shared something. Something that hadn't been there before. [...] You don't have to know everything about each other.  Secrets didn't get in the way of happiness."

This book was super intense, in a very subtle way.

It takes place during one night, one dinner, at an extremely fancy restaurant.  The dinner is narrated by one Paul Lohman.  He is accompanied by his wife, Claire, to this trendy restaurant - a place where he does not want to be.  Paul and Claire are joined, with much fanfare, by his politician brother Serge and beautiful sister-in-law Babette. They discuss the mundane. 

Throughout the course of the dinner, it becomes clear that the Lohmans have met to discuss an incident, a crime committed and shared by their fifteen year old sons. 

The parents' reactions and decisions about the crime are what is so intense about this novel.  While thinking about this incident, Paul flashes back to other times - to things he has done while possessed by his violent temper.  To his "solutions" to his son's previous misdemeanors.  To the way he ran his house when Claire was sick in the hospital. All of these past events are both graphic and shocking because of the way Paul normalizes them in his discourse.  

Without giving too much away, I'll let you know that Koch really makes you think while reading this book. He makes you think about families - how far they'll go to protect the ones they love, and what "family" really means.  I think that Koch bends morals in this novel; like, is it more right to protect your child or is it more right to tell the truth?  His characters of Paul and Claire have so many levels.  They both try to protect each other by hiding something.  At the same time, they have this beautiful unspoken language that they share, which Koch describes perfectly.  

This book is an international best-seller, and I can see why.  It's gripping and haunting.  It had me worrying about the fate of the Lohman family right until the last page.  Would they self-destruct?  Would Paul and Claire destroy Serge for the sake of their son?  And it had me wondering how far I would go for the ones I love. 

Read it. And then think hard. 
♥ Meg xoxo


J'aime Paris

Today I'm wearing my love of French on my shirt... in the form of the Eiffel Tower.  There's this je ne sais quoi about the Tour Eiffel.  I mean, it's just steel and lights.  But when you see it, it takes your breath away.  

Shrug: Old Navy //  T-shirt: Old Navy // Skirt: Joe // Tights: Joe //  Necklace: Urban Behaviour // 

Leopard print, and polka dots, and plaid - oh my.  haha.  I'm not sure that the pieces in this outfit match, as much as they don't mismatch.  I like how leopard print has made its way into the ranks of work-appropriate patterns, along with tweed, plaid, stripes, and [obviously] polka dots.

Shrug: Old Navy //  T-shirt: Old Navy // Skirt: Joe // Tights: Joe //  Necklace: Urban Behaviour // 

Let's stop and take a look at my metal collar necklace.  It was a gift for myself way back in December when M and I were shopping for Christmas gifts.  I sort of missed the point of that shopping trip, but I digress. When I bought it, I thought that I would be "the girl with the metal collar necklace", in true Shopaholic style.  Sadly, it doesn't really work with a lot of shirts' real collars.  Everything came together today, though, and it made its way into the world.

Shoes: Payless // 

I wonder if people in Paris are wearing shirts of the CN tower or the Peace Tower, as we speak.  Seems likely, right?

♥ Meg xoxo


Polka dots to the max

Get it?  It's a maxi dress, and I'm wearing polka dots?  Sometimes I amaze myself.  Ha. 

Dress: Old Navy // Tights: Forever XXI // Necklace: Ardene // 

I used to have a purple maxi dress.  It got old and the material got bally.  Enter this black maxi dress replacement.  I love the idea of a long dress out of the summer months.  This one is a blank canvas for accessories.  I may have gone overboard with said accessories, but that's just my style.

Dress: Old Navy // Tights: Forever XXI // Necklace: Ardene // Scarf {in hair}: Claire's // 

So... about the accessories.  The polka dot tights were the start.  Then came the giant top knot.  But, it seemed kind of frizzy ... so I added the brightly patterned scarf as a headband.  Then I though the dress looked too plain.  So I added the neon and chain necklaces.  At the front door, I was about to slip on some black flats, until I caught sight of a DIY that I did last week.

Yup, I flashed back to the 1990s and painted some canvas sneakers.

Sneakers: Ardene and DIY // 

Sneakers: Ardene and DIY // 

As you know, I feel that stripes and polka dots can live together in harmony.  They do this here on my toes.  I bought these sneakers for a whopping 3 pairs for $10 at Ardene.  

Grab yourself a pair (or two or three) and get creative.  Painted sneakers are everywhere from the blogosphere to the runway; Elsie painted some here, and Kate Spade designed some here.

♥ Meg xoxo


The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green

by Joshua Braff

"My mother once told me that my father never stops loving us, even when he's lost his mind."

The year is 1977 and Jacob Green is 10 years old.  He lives in a suburban New Jersey with his family: a baby brother and sister, a rebellious older brother, a narcissistic father, and a tired mother.  Jacob is the golden boy - the one his father can count on; he is the one who can read the Torah so beautifully.  

Throughout the novel, the reader sees glimpses into the Green family's life, first when Jacob is 10, then 13, and lastly 15 years old.  Abram Green, Jacob's dad, loves his family so much that he is cruel to them.  Jacob includes list of Green family "rules" throughout his narration.  For example, if Jacob or his siblings rip their pants, their father will put his hand in the hole and rip the entire pant leg.  Abram doesn't want his children to be seen as poor, so he humiliates them instead.  Abram forces his children to prove their love for him time and time again.  He is so focused on the outward appearance of his family that he makes his wife and children hate him.  In another instance, he wants Jacob to write each one of his thank you cards perfectly for his Bar Mitzvah, in spite of his learning disability.  Abram rips up the cards when they are not perfect. 

Integral to this story is the theme of family.  Abram wants to love his family so much that he suffocates his children and [ex-]wife.  Jacob and his older brother, Asher, actually show a great deal of love for each other.  They stick together in Hebrew school and later in public school.  They stand as a team against their father; Asher rebels and defies him, while Jacob soothes him with obedience. 

As Jacob matures, his unthinkable thoughts turn away from escape plans to masturbation and oral sex. Jacob struggles between making his father happy, and doing what he wants to do.  Jacob wants nothing more than to escape from his life of performing Torah readings at the synagogue, like a show horse for his father. 

The Green family and its dramatics made me wonder about what goes on behind the closed doors of my neighbour's houses.  I think that this book was tragic at times.  I mean, the Green family is torn apart because Abram loves his family too much.  Jacob is a funny narrator who is great at describing his relationships with his father and other family members. He is anxious and guilty about his actions towards his father.  It is through Jacob that the reader is able to see Abram as a man who loves his family, not just as an egotistical monster.  

I picked it out for the neon green cover, but finished reading it because of its incredible voice and moving content. 
♥ Meg xoxo

Beachy memories...

Whenever I went camping in the summer as a child, I would inevitably wear my shoes in the river or pond and be stuck wearing boots for the rest of my trip.  I mean, there was something about searching in wet areas for bugs or fish; pretty rocks or shells; driftwood or fossils, that I loved. 

Dress: UO or Anthro // Cardigan: Old Navy //

At the beach today, I found myself rocking [cowboy] boots... while searching near the water's edge for any signs of life. As I hitched up my long, flimsy dress, and bent down to look in the water, I was transported back to my childhood. I had traded my two long braids and rubber boots, for one side-braid and cowboy boots, but I still felt a huge sense of wonder.  What was I hoping to find in the murky bay water?

Boots: Target // 

I still love this kind of rocky beach.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I like sandy beaches in the summer. But, there is something cool about looking through all of the rocks, driftwood, and other treasures in the dunes.  I used to come home from summer camp with my pockets filled with special rocks and pieces of wood that I loved.  There's this one photo of me, taken at Brownie camp, with both of my shoelaces untied, arms and hands laden with nature's gifts. Sometimes, at a beach like this one, I'm still that 6 year old girl looking for beauties to bring home.

Boots: Target // Dress: UO or Anthro // Cardigan: Old Navy // Necklace: Tiffany's //

Go out and discover nature today.  Remember what it was like to be amazed by the smallest things.  And remember to wear your boots when exploring the great unknown.

I'm on my way...
♥ Meg xoxo


Stairway to Ghost Town

So there's this sort of ghost town in my city.  It's got ominous "No Trespassing" signs and boarded up windows.  I mean, these sets of buildings look like they've been forgotten by time.  I obviously thought that this would be a nice place to hike to and take photos at, with M.  

Toque: Neff // Shirt: Garage // Jeans: Mudd at Kohl's // 

What does one do in a ghost town, you ask?  Climb the dilapidated outdoor staircase, of course.  Don't worry, I tested it.  And I didn't go all the way to the top.  

Toque: Neff // Shirt: Garage // Jeans: Mudd at Kohl's // 

Oh floral jeans, how I adore thee.  These gems were super reduced when I found them on a shopping trip with Mum and Erin.  We decided that they were a staple. You know, like bread and butter... or a black pencil skirt and a white button-down.  Everyone needs a pair of floral jeans. ;)

Moccasins: Minnetonka // 

My beautiful moccasins got soaked during this hike. I may or may not have whined about this the entire way home. Let it be known that they have dried out, are really quite resilient, and maybe shouldn't have been a cause for whining. I mean, if there was whining at all.

Shoes: Nike? //

While I was posing on the stairs, M thought he'd be so cute and take a picture of his shoes like I always do. Wannabe.  haha.

♥ Meg xoxo


The PMS Murder

by Laura Levine

"Isn't mayonnaise heavenly? I wondered if he'd notice if I reached out and scooped it up with my finger. Of course he'd notice! Was I nuts? I had to stop this nonsense and concentrate on the murder."

Jaine Austen (no relation) is a freelance writer who lives in LA with her overweight cat named Prozac.  One day, while struggling with bathing suit shopping, she meets a kindred spirit at Ben and Jerry's.  

Jaine's new friend Pam invites her to join the PMS Club - a group of women and one gay man who get together to drink margaritas and gossip.  Jaine attends one meeting and loves it.  At her second meeting, though, things aren't so peachy.  While dipping into the guacamole this week, one of the members drops dead. 

The ensuing story tells of Jaine's investigation of the murder.  She is, after all, a part-time sleuth who often helps out the police.  She meets up with all of the suspects, in between stops for burritos, egg McMuffins, and burgers.  Hilarity follows when Jaine finds herself in the most awkward situations while at a job interview, at the old age home where she volunteers, and in her not-so-professional dealings with the police.  

I loved Jaine.  She thinks up pretend conversations with her cat.  She has a funny way of dealing with brutal situations - like being caught wolfing down a burrito in a parking lot, after ordering a salad at a lunch interview.  I feel that Jaine is comparable to Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum.  Just make Stephanie a little more interested in takeout, and little less interested in actual crimes... and you have Jaine.  

The PMS Murder is a fun lighthearted read, recommended to those who like to read mystery infused with humour.  

♥ Meg xoxo


Birds at the beach

Spring, in my part of the world, was struggling today.  I put on this billowy skirt and peasant top... and then had to add thick tights, a slip, and a cardigan.  It was still freezing down by the harbour.  I regret nothing though; the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and I successfully wore a bohemian-style outfit to work today.  

Skirt: H&M // Cardigan: Forever XXI // Shirt: Loft // 

All of those white things behind me are gulls.  They were extremely loud.  What do you call seagulls that live by the bay? Bagels.  haha.  I crack me up.

Skirt: H&M // Cardigan: Forever XXI // Shirt: Loft // Belt: Ardene's //

This outfit began with this belt and grew from there.  I want to style it with long flowy dresses and wavy hair.  I can't wait for the free-spirited nature of summer... the bare feet, the tanned skin, the way clothing becomes carefree when it's just thrown over a bikini, the late nights, and the freedom from commitments.

Tights: CK // Boots: Target // Slip (shining through): borrowed from Mum // 

I was pretty happy that I added this slip at the last minute.  The wind was fierce today.

Just looking at the bright sun's reflection here makes me smile.  Take pleasure in the little things, people.  

♥ Meg xoxo


Mini mini mini mini

The theme of this outfit is: miniature.  I love being medium.  But, let's face it... lots of things are cuter when they are mini.  I'm rocking cropped pants, a mini blazer, and a shirt with tiny polka dots.  Don't worry, my heels aren't shrunken though.  They are just as tall as ever :)

Blazer: H&M // Shirt: Urban Outfitter's//

This shirt is so fun to wear.  The ruffled section in the front is longer in the back... not unlike a mullet.  I'd like to think that it is much classier than the famous haircut of the 1980s.  

Blazer: H&M // Shirt: Urban Outfitter's // Pants: Lauren Conrad at Kohl's //

These pants came with a pretty belt with a bow it.  I decided to leave it on the floor of my closet because it was making my shirt puff out in a weird way.  As you can see, I should've opted for a belt of some sort.  I was hiking up my pants all day.  Sigh*

Heels: Burlington Coat Factory //

I wore these heels all day... much to the dismay of my colleagues.  I maintain that these shoes are not stilettos, and are, therefore, allowed by the dress code. 

See the epic title of the book in my hands?  I've got some book reviews coming soon. 
♥ Meg xoxo


One Moment, One Morning

by Sarah Rayner

"Is every morning going to be like this? A punch to her stomach every time she opens her eyes?"

One morning, three women are taking the train from Brighton to London.  When the train makes an emergency stop, Anna is impatient to get to work.  In another car, Lou watches helplessly as Karen's husband has a heart attack and dies.  Later, Anna is struck with guilt when she finds out that the emergency which delayed her train, was the death of her best friend's husband, Simon.  

Rayner's heart-wrenching tale is the days events of that Monday, along with the following week.  She follows the stories of the these three women, and writes about how their lives dramatically change after that one moment, on that fateful morning.  

Karen is numb; the love of her life has just died instantly, without warning.  The reader feels her pain and grief as she attempts to deal with her husband's death while taking care of her 5 and 3 year-old children.  Anna is angry; she wonders why such a loving and caring father was ripped from his children's lives.  She tries to support and help her friend anyway possible.  At the same time, she is dealing with the failings of her own boyfriend, failings which seem more obvious now than ever.  Through a series of events, Lou, the stranger on the train, has become friends with Anna and Karen, in turn.  Although she never knew Simon, she helps Karen tremendously in her hour of need.  She is affected by the death as well.  Lou is a lesbian, who is out in her community but closeted from her family.  She uses Simon's death as a reminder of how fleeting life can be; she is influenced to live her life as she wishes.  

This novel was extremely sad.  I'm not going to lie - each time I picked it up something different in it made me tear up.  I think that it was because of the realness of the story.  People die suddenly, and others are left to pick up the pieces.  The quote of praise on the back of the novel was true for me.  It reads, "it will make you want to call your dear ones to tell them how much you love them".  This story was very emotional for me.  Most times I was filled with sorrow for Karen and for her young family.  In the end though, the women in this novel found joy in each other, in themselves, in their children, and in their lives. 

I recommend this book wholeheartedly.  Read it at home, though, with a box of tissues ready. 
♥ Meg xoxo