RSS

day ninety

the well-known saying is that march comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. here where i live, this year march decided to stick its tongue out at tradition and rather came in like a lamb, had a twist of lion, and morphed straight back to lamb just in the nick of time. as the last remaining hours of march float by on a mellow spring breeze, i am wondering to myself where in fact march went. it flew by so fast, it's all kind of a blur. luckily, i've kept some records. this month, my dress and i:

* announced the winner of my first-ever contest and put her name in lights for an entire week
* went shopping - but didn't break the rules
* got some unexpected media attention: listen here, read here, and see here
* tried to stir up some excitement about the pale trend i plan to start this summer
* met a fantastically generous shop owner who hooked me up with practically a whole new wardrobe
* stopped breathing
* inherited a monkey

i am also happy to report that i received a record-breaking five extremely generous monetary donations this month which i am so grateful for. thank you to everyone out there who is helping out in any way with this project. if you're new to the site, i am raising money for almost home in kingston. again this month, i'm asking if you could please do me a favour and email/facebook/twitter my website to just a few of your contacts? i'm already amazed at how far my message has travelled and want to raise just as much money as i can for this amazing charity.

and finally, today marks my halfway point of this project! so far, i've worn 90 different looks using my two dresses, written 90 blog posts, taken 90 self-portraits, and received countless words of encouragement, donations, and unexpected gestures of kindness. thank you to everyone who's supporting me! you're keeping me inspired.

*****

today's look while crossing over the halfway mark:

pink sweater over dress: donated by kimberly's deja vu boutique (details below) for this project - thanks! (free)
brown pants: secondhand (free)
brown socks: secondhand (free)

grand total:
8¢ (just the cost-per-wear of the dress today!)

kimberly's deja vu boutique
sommerville centre, 6835 highway 62 north (1 mile off the 401)
belleville, ontario k8n 4z5
613.966.3352

day eighty-nine

dear anonymous,

you don't know me. i don't know you either. we both know of each other but have never met. nevertheless, you seem like the kind of person i wish i actually knew. i think we'd get along.

did you ever have a penpal? remember those? when people used to actually sit down at a dining table or the corner of their bed or, if they were really serious, a writing desk. they would pull out a favourite pen and jot down their thoughts on a fresh piece of paper or two. then they would take these pieces of paper, fold them neatly in into an envelope, and mail that package full of feelings and soul-barings and current life events to a person - a stranger - who lived a city or a country or a continent away.

now we have the internet which is amazing if you sit back and think about it. but it has two faces. when it's feeling angelic, it can show you people and places you would otherwise have never known existed. it can do great things for amazing people. it can unite and bring happiness and enlighten. but when it's off catching a whiff of the devil, it can show its nasty face. it can lure and weave otherwise good, normal people into nasty strangers who have nothing better to do than mess with others. it can turn the high achievers into the schoolyard bullies.

i know that's what you are struggling with now. but i would have never known of you if i hadn't been led over to the good side. the sweet side where you and your writing reside. and having discovered you, you have inspired a stranger in more ways than you know. i admire you and your honesty and bravery and independence. Please don't let the bullies get to you.

but if you ever decide down the road to chuck it all in, we should totally exchange addresses and become penpals. 'cause like i said, i'm pretty sure we'd get along. and i'd definitely miss your words. inspiring words written by a person i don't really know.

*****

today's look while reminiscing about the good old days:

grey shirt under dress: donated by my sister for this project - thanks! (free)
brown skirt under dress: donated by kimberly's deja vu boutique (details below) for this project - thanks! (free)
embroidered tie around waist: refashioned from a t-shirt my sister donated for this project - thanks! (free)
green toque: gifted about fifteen years ago (free)
brown knee socks: zellers ($3)
black platform shoes: aldo, two years old ($125)

grand total:
about $128.08

kimberly's deja vu boutique
sommerville centre, 6835 highway 62 north (1 mile off the 401)
belleville, ontario k8n 4z5
613.966.3352

day eighty-eight

yesterday we didn't have a full-fledged monkey living in our house. today was a different story.

it appears that overnight, likely during the r.e.m. stage, tenzin was encountered in a dream state by whoever it is that teaches little babies how to grow up before you very eyes. (maybe that explains the outburst?) apparently this very helpful being taught him advanced climbing 101. gee, thank you oh-so-helpful teacher. apparently, tenzin was awarded an instant master's degree plus a gold star and an a+++ for superior effort and a job well done. how else can it be explained that overnight without any intervention from The Husband or me that he can all of a sudden climb furniture? on his own. up and down and up and down and up and down.

i'm sure this enterprising being has a wide assortment of tricks stashed high up in his extra long sleeves that he is just itching to teach my little boy the next moment i have my back turned. as long as they don't involve too much more monkey business, we should get along just fine.

*****

today's look while being a cheeky monkey:

blue turtleneck under dress: old navy, about two years old ($15)
retro city of guelph tie worn as belt: donated by my dad for this project - thanks! (free)
red beaded necklace: gift from a former coworker (free)
long corduroy skirt worn under dress: donated by kimberly's deja vu boutique (details below) for this project - thanks! (free)
brown knee socks: sears ($8)

grand total:
about $23.08

kimberly's deja vu boutique
sommerville centre, 6835 highway 62 north (1 mile off the 401)
belleville, ontario k8n 4z5
613.966.3352

day eighty-seven

last night my head hit the soft down pillow. i was out like a light, lying on my side or maybe my back. my mouth was likely open and maybe exhaling a (hopefully small) snore or two. the white duvet was pulled up to my chin, and i was off in another place. i was off in la-la land dreaming a strange or fantastic or average dream. and then, with one slight sound from the other room - a single cry - i was jolted awake.

no no no no no no no...don't wake up don't wake up don't wake up...

i literally stopped breathing, convinced that the whisper of one slight exhalation of breath would travel through the thin wall and onto the other side, and it would all be over for me. i would have to slide out from under my warm duvet, step out of my dream vehicle and onto the cold floor and enter the room beside to comfort a small boy from whatever it is that wakes small boys in the middle of the night.

i let out a tiny breath. instantly, another single cry rang out from the room beside and hit me upside the head. i stopped breathing again, and the noise stopped.

slowly, i took my chances and dared breath again. a few steady, quiet respirations in and out.

crisis - and wakefulness - averted. this time.

*****

today's look while dreaming about dreaming:

white sweater over dress: donated by kimberly's deja vu boutique (details below) for this project - thanks! (free)
grey wrist warmers: handknit by me (about $2)
jeans: value village, about seven months old ($20)
winter boots: aldo from last year (about $75)

grand total:
about $97.08

kimberly's deja vu boutique
sommerville centre, 6835 highway 62 north (1 mile off the 401)
belleville, ontario k8n 4z5
613.966.3352

day eighty-six - part two

i don't seem to have a whole lot of time for myself these days. i have a toddler, so really i could just end this thought right here, i suppose. but i am also a student. i spend a lot of my free time trying to work on assignments and retain facts in my tired brain. today we were out for a nice country drive, three-quarters of which i spent with a pen in my hand, a stack of papers on my lap, and my nose stuck in a textbook. but it seems to be paying off in grades i am very proud of, and it's all for a limited time. i am finished my course in a month, exams and all, so the job hunt officially begins...now!

so, i'm just wondering if anyone out there knows of anyone who needs anyone - with a flexible (brown) dress code, of course!

*****

today's look while gearing up for a job search:

purple dress over dress: donated by kimberly's deja vu boutique (details below) for this project - thanks! (free)
brown long-sleeved t-shirt under dress: secondhand (free)
necklace: secondhand (free)
striped socks: zellers ($5)
black platform shoes: aldo, two years old ($125)

grand total:
about $130.08

kimberly's deja vu boutique
sommerville centre, 6835 highway 62 north (1 mile off the 401)
belleville, ontario k8n 4z5
613.966.3352

day eighty-six

just checking in quickly to say i received yet another very generous donation this morning! hooray! it's an extra good saturday now. thank you so much!

day eighty-five

i love mailboxes. not necessarily their aesthetics, although i have seen my fair share of assorted individual looks; rather, it's the fact that they hold so much potential. i would go so far as to say their contents can, on occasion at least, actually make or break my day.

up until about five years ago, i always lived in cities. my pre-country mailbox experiences were usually limited to a quick pitstop at the front door of an old apartment building followed by a short walk usually up or down a wide set of well-worn stairs that led to a heavy wooden door of an apartment that held my things. i may have briefly scanned the pile of envelopes in my hands on the way up or down those stairs. i might have checked for familiar handwriting on an envelope or wondered about the sender of an unfamiliar formally typed address. perhaps i didn't even glance at the stack and just left it all as a giant surprise for an entire 30 seconds or so until i'd reached the other side of my apartment door. i may have lamented a complete lack of mail altogether or let out an audible too-loud sigh when all that sat in my fist was a stack of wretched bills.

my country mailbox is perched at the side of the road at the end of a long, old, craggy branch-shaped driveway. it is normally about a four-minute round trip from my front door to this mailbox and back inside. well, it is unless tenzin accompanies me which means these days, it's more in the vicinity of a half-hour leisurely stroll with a jump or ten in every puddle along the way. nevertheless, i still choose at random one of my familiar routines. sometimes it's an instant reward with a smile, other times it's just a fist full of bills, while yet other times it's a grimace and the feeling that no one, not even the competing internet provider or the used-car promoter or the hungry real estate lady cares to flick anything my way.

today was the best kind of mailbox day. it made me smile a full-on grin. today my mailbox contained a hand-addressed envelope (good!) from a familiar person (yay!) containing a very generous cheque (jump up and down!) for my project.

the best kind of mail is the personal unexpected hand-written cards. of course, they don't need to contain money to make me smile, but when it's for an amazing cause from an amazing family,  i can't help but be grateful and happy and anxious to see what amazing things may arrive in my mailbox on some other random unexpected day in the future.

*****

today's look while continuing to be amazed at the generosity of others:

grey silk sweater with metallic paillettes worn over dress: donated by kimberly's deja vu boutique (details below) for this project - thanks! (free)
jeans: also donated by kimberly for this project - thanks! (free)
socks: claire's (about $4)
black flats: payless, about two years old (about $20)

grand total:
about $24.08

kimberly's deja vu boutique
sommerville centre, 6835 highway 62 north (1 mile off the 401)
belleville, ontario k8n 4z5
613.966.3352

day eighty-four

in addition to my cbc interview, a couple of weeks ago i was also interviewed by the local newspaper. my story made the front cover which was a fun surprise! here is a copy of the article.

*****



Giving back with some fashion making do

By Margaret Brand
The Review-Mirror

This winter and spring Christine Chu is learning to enjoy the clothes she already has so that she can give back to one of her favorite organizations.

The money she would normally have spent on clothing, and haircuts she is donating to Almost Home, a centre in Kingston which provides daily accommodation and respite for families whose children are receiving medical treatment in Kingston area hospitals.

Chu's self imposed discipline for January to July includes wearing one of two brown dresses every day and making do with the clothes and accessories she already has as well as items she is given.

In June 2008 Chu spent three weeks at Almost Home after her son Tenzin arrived too early and had to spend time in the neonatal ICU before going home to Althorpe with his mother.

“I always wanted to give back to them in some way. We didn’t really have the financial means,” she said.

Chu is donating the money she would have spent on clothes and haircuts to Almost Home.

She got some inspiration from “The Uniform Project”, a New York City based project which is raising money for an education project in India. A woman has been wearing the same styled black dress for a year. The project has raised over $56,000 over the last ten months.

Every day Chu takes a photo of her outfit, outlines the price and provenance of what she’s been wearing and posts it on a blog at http://wardrobedresstruction.blogspot.com/

The blog has become a constant for Chu, a stay at home mum completing distance education to pursue a career as a medical transcriptionist.

“It’s taught me about the generosity of other people. I’ve gotten donations I didn’t expect,” she said.

Almost Home relies entirely on the generosity of private and corporate donors, as well as fundraisers, to obtain the $250,000 they need to keep the home operating.

The eleven bedroom home was purchased n 1992 after a capital campaign by a group of citizens who saw a need in the community for support for families whose children were receiving treatment at area hospitals.

The building they purchased on Williams Street was converted back into one home, which now includes eleven bedrooms and a small apartment in the rear for a night manager.

Information on Almost Home, as well as the ability to donate online is available at http://www.almosthome.on.ca/

*****

today's look while taking a few moments to relax:

blue t-shirt under dress: donated by kimberly's deja vu boutique (details below) for this project - thanks! (free)
blue silk tie around waist: also donated by kimberly - thanks! (free)
brown tights: (about $12)
black fishnets worn over brown tights: the bay (about $10)
black ruffled platform wedge sandals: if footwear, about ten months old (about $110)

grand total:
about $132.08

kimberly's deja vu boutique
sommerville centre, 6835 highway 62 north (1 mile off the 401)
belleville, ontario k8n 4z5
613.966.3352

day eighty-three - part two


here is the interview...just click on the mp3 title to launch and listen!


cbcdresstruction.mp3

day eighty-three - part one

a couple of weeks ago, i was interviewed by the cbc for this project. it was definitely one of the highlights of this endeavour so far. for those of you who missed it or who live outside of the ottawa/kingston area, go to today's part two post to have a listen.

*****

green t-shirt under dress: donated by marci bruyere for this project - thanks! (free)
pewter silk tie around waist: donated by kimberly's deja vu boutique (details below) for this project - thanks! (free)
silver dog tags: found in closet, apparently from a really old lame video game promotion (free)
black tights - zellers ($8)

grand total:
about $8.08

kimberly's deja vu boutique
sommerville centre, 6835 highway 62 north (1 mile off the 401)
belleville, ontario k8n 4z5
613.966.3352

day eighty-two

technical technical technical difficulties tonight.

yep, that's all.

*****

today's look while wearing my least expensive ensemble yet:

white sweater over dress: donated by kimberly's deja vu boutique (details below) for this project - thanks! (free)
dark-rinse jeans: liquidation world, about nine months old ($3)
socks: secondhand (free)

grand total:
about $3.08

kimberly's deja vu boutique
sommerville centre, 6835 highway 62 north (1 mile off the 401)
belleville, ontario k8n 4z5
613.966.3352

day eighty-one

i had so much fun at the doctor's office today!

that's a first...let me explain. i received some more donations today! out of the blue, i was at a clinic and was approached and asked if i was "the brown dress lady". turns out, someone who works at the clinic heard of my project, and while i was there, she happened to have some clothes on hand that she gave me. i can't tell you how amazing it is to get clothes donated when you have yourself imposed on a non-shopping ban. unexpected presents are one of the best kinds!

so thank you, marci, if you're reading...they will definitely go to great use!

*****

today's look while holding a shopping bag i can't actually use for shopping:

green sweater over dress: donated by kimberly's deja vu boutique (details below) for this project - thanks! (free)
jeans: stitches, about four years old ($30)
black flats (not visible): payless, about two years old (about $20)
green bag: garage sale find from last summer (50¢)

grand total:
about $50.58

kimberly's deja vu boutique
sommerville centre, 6835 highway 62 north (1 mile off the 401)
belleville, ontario k8n 4z5
613.966.3352

day eighty

due to the rousing endless debate that ensued in my comment section back on day forty-one (...tumbleweeds...) i made the decision myself a while back to delegate haircuts firmly to the non-essential side of the list. after all, it's just hair! this means i can't pay for a professional haircut until july.

hopefully one day my self-cut bangs will forgive me.

*****

today's look while feeling equal parts happy (for my bangs) and annoyed (on behalf of the rest of the mop) that my hair grows fast:

grey top over dress: donated by kimberly's deja vu boutique (details below) for this project - thanks! (free)
jeans: also donated by kimberly's deja vu boutique - thanks again! (free)
necklace: donated by my friend vanessa for this project - thanks! (free)
black flats: payless, about two years old (about $20)

grand total:
about $20.08

kimberly's deja vu boutique
sommerville centre, 6835 highway 62 north (1 mile off the 401)
belleville, ontario k8n 4z5
613.966.3352

day seventy-nine

today was so fun. we drove all the way to belleville (ontario) to meet up with kimberly, the owner of kimberly's deja vu boutique. seriously people, she was so nice, and she gave me an insane amount of clothes for this project. and when i say an insane amount, i mean three bursting, bulging giant bags full. when you deprive yourself of shopping and you receive three enormous bags' worth of clothes, you can't help but have a huge smile on your face.

but back to my new friend kimberly. yep, i'm calling her my new friend because she's the type of person every girl should know. she owns the best consignment shop i've ever gone into. and i'm not just saying that because she hooked me up with a pile of clothes larger than what is currently in my own closet. we browsed around her shop a little when we arrived, and the quality and style of clothes was amazing. everything was organized and fun to look through, and the store was so funky. i peeked at shoes, jewelry, and trinkets. she has it all from everyday items to designer treats. and she is just so down-to-earth, she really did feel like an old friend.

and one of the best parts about kimberly's business? she donates parts of her proceeds to charity...girl after my own heart! her charity of choice is fixed fur life which is an organization that is working through aggresstive spaying and neutering of animals in the community to hopefully one day eliminate euthenasia and pet overpopulation.

all this to say, as soon as i'm allowed to shop again, her place will be on my list of places to hit up. she's conveniently located halfway down the 401 from my house to my immediate family's, so it will be a great little diversion to break up a long drive down the highway. you should definitely do the same. here are her details:

click here to visit her on facebook and become a fan...or, better yet, go and see her now at:

kimberly's deja vu boutique
sommerville centre, 6835 highway 62 north (1 mile off the 401)
belleville, ontario  k8n 4z5
613.966.3352

she might even let you sit in her giant leopard print shoe!

*****

today's look while saying a huge thank you the owner of one of my new favourite shops:

purple turtleneck under dress: jacob connexion from about three years ago ($15)
purple tie around waist: deconstructed from old t-shirt (free)
purple tights: zellers ($10)
black ruffled platform wedge sandals: if footwear, about nine months old (about $110)



grand total:
about $135.08

day seventy-eight

according to my completely unscientific studies (ie: a focus group of one), all of the things i've heard about "mum brain" appear to be true. i know this because i am the focus group participant and have become walking, breathing, living proof of it. i swear i: 1) used to have a memory, 2) used to be on time, and 3) used to be coherent.

i can't seem to remember my age. i consistently keep knocking two years off of it in my mind. don't most people know how old they are? i really have to put some genuine thought into it sometimes. am i concerned about aging? trying to conceal my true birthdate? no, i'm blaming it on mum brain.

i went to the city yesterday, found a parking spot, and thought how lucky i was that i'd found two hours of free parking not far from where i was going. i went back to the car about an hour later to find a ticket neatly tucked under the wiper. that's right, i'd misread the sign. and then i misread the ticket. have i really lived in the country so long that i've forgotten how to read parking signs? gotten so many tickets that it's all a blur now? no, i'm blaming it on mum brain.

i am so tongue-twisted you'd think i was speaking another language half the time. i also repeat myself a lot. everything starts off quite coherently in my head, but by the time it travels down through my brain parts and out of my mouth, it's all a garble. i tend to start off a lot of sentences and then trail...off...partway through trying to remember the names of everyday objects or recall certain events. i also repeat myself a lot. did i walk into a tree once while daydreaming and lose my memory? (well, the tree part yes, but the memory part no.) was i hypnotized at one of those crazy shows and then then they erased all of my memory of it along with my ability to speak? no, it's just the bum mrain. i mean the mum brain.

help me. i am doomed.

*****

today's look while not attempting to remember anything, be anywhere, or speak to anyone:

brown top over dress: value village, about ten months old (about $5)
pink beaded necklace: donated by my friend maike for this project - thanks! (free)
jeans: value village, about seven months old ($20)

grand total:
about $25.08

day seventy-seven - part two

i just received a nice email this evening about some more clothes donations - hooray! thank you so much! hopefully you will get to see me in some new combinations soon...

day seventy-seven

i guess not everyone got my memo. i thought i was being very helpful and quite polite too. i guess people just don't want to be told what to do by a brown-dress-wearing girl they don't even know.

i counted not one, not two, but five houses on my drive home tonight with full-on christmas lights all aglow. and these were not pretty little white fairy lights which could be misconstrued as just regular festive rather than christmas festive. no, i'm talking green and red and blue and entire trees and houses rimmed in the things.

but maybe i'm just humbugging.

*****

today's look while remembering my teen crush on river phoenix:

black t-shirt under dress: next exit, about seven years old ($45)
black dress under dress: smart set, about two years old ($30)
bracelets: combination of some bought at smart set (around $5) and donated by my friend vanessa for this project - thanks! (free)
black tights: gifted (free)
winter boots: aldo from last year ($75)

grand total:
about $155.08

day seventy-six

i am sitting here with a big smile on my face. i received yet another amazingly generous donation today! actually, i got both a monetary donation and an offer of some clothes which i am very much looking foward to.

they always come as surprises, these bursts of generosity. it seems like i'm just going about my business every day, taking a bunch of pictures, writing something silly or thoughtful or willy-nilly, practically forgetting that there are a few people out there who are actually paying attention. and then, bam! generosity presents itself in the form of a cheque, some secondhand items, or some amazing, kind words of encouragement. i never expect these things to happen. people are surprising and good that way.

it all makes me think about how generous i am or have been as a person. i like to think that what goes around comes around in the best of ways, so while i would like to consider myself a generous person, it's something i will continue to work at.

if you are feeling in a generous mood, i would be so grateful if you could just tell at least one person about this project. i'm already amazed at how this is taking on a life of its own, and i'd like to see just how far it will go.

this is where i'm at today at seventy-six. a sincere thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you out there who are paying attention. you keep me going.

*****

today's look while sitting in the sunshine with a smile on my face:

grey t-shirt under dress: donated by my sister for this project - thanks! (free)
green nightdress under dress: value village, about a year old ($20)
green tie around waist: also donated by my sister for this project - thanks! (free)
green crocheted hat: value village, ten months old ($4)
brooch worn on hat: jacob, about four years old (about $15)
black platform shoes: aldo from two years ago ($125)

grand total:
about $164.08

day seventy-five

i have always been pale. i am so pale, i am practically translucent. sometimes, usually sometime around the height of summer, someone will turn to me and say, "wow, you're so pale!" i have no response to this, since they are really just stating the obvious. but they always say it in the same tone of voice. a voice that implies that i personally chose to practically not have a skin tone. do they really think i haven't noticed that everyone else has a deep golden tan, and i am walking around like a white highlighter? i am probably the reason they're wearing sunglasses, lest the sun rays bounce straight off my pale face and bounce back and burn their (probably tanned) retinas.

i spent many years in denial of my inability to get a glow. i've suffered sunburns too numerous to count, but inevitably my skin turns from lobster pink straight back to white. i've slathered myself in lotions trying to look as though i actually got a tan, but unfortunately natural sun doesn't leave behind strange orange streaks. so all i can hope is that maybe one day, hopefully in the near future, pale will come back into fashion.

and then i'll turn around with a smug smile to all of my golden girls and start loaning out my spf 50.

*****

today's look while humming a whiter shade of pale:

black turtleneck under dress: old navy, about four years old ($15)
stone necklace: donated by my friend maike for this project - thanks! (free)
black tights: (about $15)
black platform shoes: aldo, two years old ($125)

grand total:
about $155.08

day seventy-four

random things i saw today:

* a man getting arrested
* a freshly excised widsom tooth
* a mammoth cheese

i tried to think of more, but that's about all i could come up with. wow, country living, you sure are fascinating. things that stick out as unusual don't happen much around here, but upon reflection, all of these things do share a few similarities:

* they all drew attention to themselves
* they were all interesting in both size and shape
* they all piqued my curiosity, and
* none of them made me lose my appetite (but that's a hard thing to do).

oh, and they all probably took a few years to get into the state i saw them in today.

*****

today's look while looking like a "before" shot:

brown sweater over dress: the dump (free)
beaded necklaces: stitches, about three years old (about $5 for the set)
jeans: stitches, about four years old ($30)
striped socks: zellers (about $4)

grand total:
about $39.08

day seventy-three

today The Husband and i went for massages. again, aren't you asking, "but isn't that against the rules?" nope, i'm a rule maker, not a rule breaker. (well, most of the time, anyway). allow me to explain.

now, i'm not one of those people that likes being being in the prone position while a stranger runs their stranger hands over my body. ewwww. no, i prefer to remain completely upright and vertical around all strangers and perhaps, at most, carry on a slightly awkward conversation about such fascinating topics as the price of milk these days or why there always seems to be some sort of festive holiday-themed chocolate products for sale in drugstores at all times of the year. but please do not invade my personal bubble.

so the massages took place at a shop that's about a half an hour away from our house. they have a quiet little room upstairs with four of those giant massage chairs set up and plugged in, so we each sat side by side, hit the go buttons on the remotes and got all of our kinks shook, pounded, vibrated, and beaten out of us for a glorious - and free - fifteen minutes.

now say it with me...ahhhhhhhhhh.....

*****

today's look while feeling more relaxed:

purple dress? super-sized t-shirt? nightdress? under dress: the dump (free)
black skirt under dress: made by my sister (free)
black ribbon around waist: found in bag of christmas wrapping stuff (free)
black tights: zellers ($8)
black platform shoes: aldo, two years old ($125)
book of canadian poetry: the dump (free)

grand total:
about $133.08

day seventy-two

lately tenzin's been eating up a storm. he must be going through some type of growth spurt. we don't sit down for just one breakfast in this house. there's the early morning pre-breakfast. then comes the main breakfast. then a couple of hours later, a big lunch. and then, of course, dinner which we now eat at the same time many senior citizens are just pulling up to the tables themselves. all of this happens with about four snacks in between. so basically, we are non-stop eating around here. it's all about making food while wondering what the next meal will consist of, while simultaneously either planning another trip to the grocery store or raiding the cupboards for snacks.

that's why i've nicknamed him "the black widow". if he keeps this up, he'll be giving her a run for her money someday very soon.

*****

today's look while wondering if anyone else would like to enter their toddler in an eating competition:

grey t-shirt under dress: the dump (free)
pink tie around waist: refashioned by me out of an old t-shirt (free)
brown corduroy pants: jeffrey rogers, from england about ten years ago (about $30)
winter boots: aldo from last year (about $75)

grand total:
about $105.08

day seventy-one


i have a dual personality. i swear, i am two different people. one lives here on earth and one spends her days in la-la-land. and also, one of me is very quiet and shy and awkward while the other one doesn't quite know when to shut up. depending on how well you know me, you probably know one or the other. chances are, when you first met me, you met the quiet, shy one but as you got to know me really well, over time you thought, oh, this isn't quite the christine i first met and silently wondered if i'd stop rambling on about random topics. while perhaps repeating myself one or five times in the course of our discussions.

well, in the past week, the shy me has done a few things out of my comfort zone. as you know, i contacted the cbc on a total whim and ended up scoring an interview. boy, was that awkward. fun but awkward. so fairly awkward but at the same time happy that i was doing it. i was fine until about an hour before i went to air, and then my cheeks turned pink and went up a few degrees in temperature and by the time i was live, i don't even know if i was coherent or not. it's all a blur. i know for certain i giggled a lot, since that's one of my irrepressible habits that rears its head when i'm nervous, and i feel as though i may or may not have stepped up the decible level in my voice a notch or two.

but then, out of that interview came another interview today - this time for a local newspaper. they heard me on the air and have decided to write an article about this charity project. so the decibel level and the giggling shouldn't be as much of an issue hopefully. and there is also a third interview sitting in the wings that i am just awaiting details on.

and then this week, to my great surprise, one of my inspirations for this project, the girl who, whose writing i read faithfully, featured this little website in her "currently digging" series. what the? the girl who - writer of candid, honest prose whose sincerity is second to none. the girl who, who actually responds when i once basically spilled my guts out to her over the internet every few months.

so i'm stepping things up a notch. my goal is to get the word out and raise just as much money for almost home as i can in the time i have left. and i have to say, even the shy me is a little happy to be out of my comfort zone just this once.

*****

today's look while accessorized from the dump:

black t-shirt under dress: next exit, about seven years old ($45)
black dress under dress: smart set, about two years old ($30)
beaded necklace: the dump (free)
grey clutch: the dump (free)
grey tie around waist: donated by my sister for this project - thanks! (free)
green crocheted hat: value village, ten months old ($4)
brooch on hat: jacob, about four years old ($15)
bracelet: made by me out of old zippers (free)
black tights: gifted (free)
black ruffled platform wedge sandals: if footwear, about ten months old (about $110)

grand total:
about $204.08

day seventy

oh when, oh when will i learn to stop procrastinating?!? i just submitted an assignment that's due by midnight tonight (hey, i was 40 minutes early!) and i need to clean the house now...

*****

today's look while slapping myself on the wrist. again.:

striped top under dress: value village, about seven months old ($7)
white skirt under dress: the dump (free)
green tie around waist: donated by my sister for this project - thanks! (free)
winter boots: aldo from last year (about $75)

grand total:
about $82.08

day sixty-nine - part three

i'm just here to update again...this time it's because i received another donation! thanks to my interview, i got the word out a bit more and just received a very generous donation. thank you SO much to the person who it came from. it's people like you that keep me going with this project!

day sixty-nine - part two

here's a fun update: i was just featured in an interview on cbc's "all in a day" with alan neal! now, i've written about my love for the cbc here before so it was really fun to actually be on a program. i was pretty nervous so basically embarrassingly giggled my way through the interview as i tend to do, but hopefully it all made sense and gets the word out a bit for the reason i'm doing all of this in the first place - raising money for almost home.

p.s. - if you're new here, this post explains why this is so important to me.

day sixty-nine

on saturday, i went shopping. isn't that against the rules, you ask? well, not when by "shopping" i mean "perusing a rural dump". i filled two bags with free findings and, as a result, have come up with a new series. a series i am lovingly calling "dumped".

this project has proven to me that i don't need to spend a lot of money to mix things up. everything i have worn for the past 69 days is stuff that was already sitting in my wardrobe or donated. or found at the dump! today is one of my cheapest looks, weighing in at a whopping $18 and some change.

and when i get to both save money and do something good for someone else, that's something worth jumping up and down about.

*****

today's look while being frugal:

brown shirt under dress: secondhand (free)
orange necklace: aldo, can't remember how old ($10)
retro scarf? tablecloth? worn as skirt over dress: found at the dump (free)
brown knee socks: sears ($8)
black wellies: secondhand (free)

grand total:
about $18.08

day sixty-eight

so today is the final day of what has become my week-long sister-thon. judith witty won my contest for donating the most money to this project a couple of weeks ago and, in return, got her name in lights for an entire week! congratulations again and i hope this will inspire others to donate whatever amount they can. remember, all money raised will go be given to almost home at the end of the project.

and now back to judy, who is well-deserving of such a prize for her generosity. it doesn't surprise me at all that she won my little contest. judy is one of the most generous people i have ever known. she is forever picking up things here and there for me whenever she has the opportunity. she never shows up empty-handed. you have already come to know her as seamstress extraordinaire, garage sale queen, and artist. if you take all of these qualities, mix them up in a blender, and pour them into a fancy (secondhand) glass, you would be handed a generosity milkshake whipped up and topped off with a cherry by my very own sister. she goes to clothes swaps and brings me bags of things i appreciate and use. she lets me in on best-kept secret places to source amazing bargains. she takes requests and spins them into beautiful handmade items and doesn't charge a dime. i'm sure she won't mind me saying so, but she doesn't have that much extra herself, yet she still found the generosity to donate to my project.

what more could a sister ask for?

*****

today's look while getting some vitamin c:

purple turtleneck under dress: jacob connexion, about three years old ($15)
yellow polka dotted silk scarf around waist: secondhand (free)
red beaded necklace worn as bracelet: gift from old co-worker (free)
purple tights: zellers ($10)
black platform shoes: aldo, two years old ($125)

grand total:
about $150.08

day sixty-seven

my sister was the firstborn. not just in our immediate family, but the firstborn grandchild of our generation on both sides of the family.

this means she was the only grandchild to have ever met my maternal grandfather. the only one to have laid down and taken a nap on the soft stomach of his golden retriever. the first grandchild my paternal grandmother made beautiful hand-embroidered dresses and dolls for that were sent across an entire ocean. she was the first one any of the relatives ever heard about or met or held. she was the first grandchild of which photos were taken and mailed around the world. the first to get a card labelled "to my granddaughter on her birthday". hers would have been the first name written on the family tree for that generation, planting down roots and making room for new branches that would soon grow.

a lifetime of firsts, really. she paved the way for all of us from second through to eleventh. but no one else can ever be first like she is.

*****

today's look while writing things down so i don't forget:

black long-sleeved t-shirt over dress: old navy, about four years old ($15)
short-sleeved black t-shirt with bow over dress: zellers, about two years old (about $10)
jeans: stitches, about four years old ($30)
striped socks: joe fresh (about $2)

grand total:
about $57.08

day sixty-six

my sister is a woman of many talents. one talent she has that i have always been rather jealous of is her artistic ability. i mean, i'm pretty certain that her eighth grade teacher didn't hold up a picture of a tree that she'd painstakingly painted to the best of her ability and declare it an insult to nature in front of her entire class. no, if my sister had painted a tree, it would have actually resembled a real, live tree. it would have had shading and realistic leaves and everything. it would not have looked like a brown stick with green polka dots stuck to the top and octopus-like appendages hanging from the bottom. (they were roots, sir, roots!)

after high school, my sister took interior design at college. i remember seeing her one christmas and she had painted an amazing colour wheel that looked like it was ripped straight out of the textbook. she had a giant black portfolio filled with sketches in pencils and inks that were so well done they looked like replicas of real photos. she also had made some crazy cool miniature 3D architectural buildings that she'd laboured over for hours. it was all so perfectly executed.

we all have our own individual talents, but for sure, if given the opportunity, i'd trade my dorky flute playing abilities for her artistic ones any day.

*****

today's look while getting some pre-spring sunshine on the other brown dress:

brown sweater over dress: garage, can't remember how old (about $20)
jeans: stitches, about four years old ($30)
winter boots: aldo from last year (about $75)

grand total:
about $125.08

day sixty-five

again, this post is about my sister. why? in case you  missed it, she won my big prize of getting her name in lights for donating the most money for the contest i held last week. thanks again, judy! i can't tell you how much it means...

i have to be completely honest here. throughout my lifetime, i might not have always wanted to extoll the virtues of my sister quite so much. like most sisterly relationships, we've definitely had our ups and downs. when i was very young, i honestly thought my sister could do no wrong. she was older, and therefore in my mind, so much more knowledgeable, sophisticated, and experienced in life. oh yes, and she had a better wardrobe which i, of course, would beg to borrow from. then she graduated high school and moved away from home, and it was quite an adjustment not having her around.

she'd moved to ottawa and i followed suit a few years later. then we made the drastic decision to share an apartment, and that's when it all kind of went sideways. not downhill; it just pulled us in different directions. there was definitely some tension and then we went our separate ways for a while, though we always talked and stayed in touch.

i would say, though, the past few recent years have been the best. we're both adults now and more or less on the same page. while we're both very different people, we can now appreciate our differences. and despite those differences, we still have tons in common. i love that i can really talk to her about anything. we laugh about life and cry about life and share advice and daydreams and wishes for the future. we are true sisters: while we were never able to choose to be in each others' lives, i am so glad that she is in mine. we don't always agree and we may not always take each other's advice, but we're always on each other's side, backing the other one up. she is now a true friend. not one i chose myself because she is family, but even if she wasn't, i would be happy to know her and have her in my life. she is genuine and shows her heart on her sleeve. she doesn't try to be something she's not; she just is herself - my older sister. the sister i love.

*****

today's look while showing some love:

green and brown polka dot shirt under dress: zellers, about two years old (about $15)
wood bead necklace worn as bracelet: stitches, about three years old (about $5 for set)
green tie around waist: from dressing gown (free)
grey tights: (about $15)
black ruffled platform wedge sandals: if footwear, about ten months old (about $110)

grand total:
about $145.08

day sixty-four

today i'm going to introduce you to my sister, the mum. yes, this is still the same sister. but no, she is not my mum - that's not how we roll. she is a mum. and yes, we spell "mum" with a "u". we're sorta british like that. even though we're actually canadian. anyway...

my sister is a fantastic mum. she pretty much lost her mind a few times and popped out three baby boys. that's right, three. which is pretty much sixteen whole kids less than that crazy duggar family, but it still opposes my rule of thumb which is not to let the kids outnumber the adults in any given family.

anyway, it was kind of neat because when i was pregnant, she also became pregnant with her latest child, so we were (obviously) both pregnant at the same time for a bit. one of my nephews even nicknamed us the pot-bellied sisters. sweet child. we were able to compare stories and experiences and we even did a very fun photoshoot one day whereby we took those cliched pictures with our hands formed like hearts on our bellies and looked wistfully into the distance. then we said screw it, we look pretty retarded doing that, so we tried for spontaneous instead and ended up jumping up and down for, oh, about an hour or so and tried to look like happy, glowing, jumping pregnant girls. it was one of the most fun times i've ever had, the two of us jumping up and down together and cramping up and laughing so hard tears were falling down our cheeks.

because that's the day we learned that if you are jumping while having your picture taken, the timing is very sensitive: you either look like you are having a great fun time up in the air...or you're caught coming down landing with a strange stance and a contorted look on your face which basically looks like you're about to let rip the biggest fart on the planet.

so yes, my sister has lots of experience being a mum and she's a great non-nagging source of advice on anything from cures for sad little baby tummies to first foods to anything boy-related. and, of course, how to get the perfect jumping shot when six months pregnant.

*****

today's look while not sure how covert i was being:

jean jacket over dress: some overpriced boutique in the ottawa market about ten years ago ($120)
blue turtleneck (not visible): old navy, about two years old ($15)
black tights: gifted (free)
winter boots: aldo from last year (about $75)

grand total:
about $210.08

day sixty-three - part two

wow...i am totally blown away by the generosity of another donation i just received. speechless, really. thank you so much to the person who gave it. i can't tell you how much this means to me and how much of a difference this will make.

day sixty-three

yesterday, i introduced you to my sister the seamstress. today, i'm going to tell you about my sister the garage sale queen. just in case you're wondering, this is the same person. yes, she is multitalented. she can both sew and garage sale shop like a pro. maybe even at the same time.

if there is anything you ever want, my sister is the go-to person. say, for instance, you would like a new bike or a winter jacket or a shovel, she is your person. you just call her up with a few days' notice and she's on the case. it might even be that she will show up with a choice for you. would you like a five-speed bike or a ten? a blue coat or green? a metal or a plastic shovel? here you go, just pick whichever one you'd like best. no, don't worry about paying me, i got them for free. that's right, she's not only one of the best bargain hunters i know, but she has a crazy knack for getting things thrown in for free.

and if she can't find it for you, don't worry, she'll just whip you one up in a few minutes on her sewing machine.

*****

if you are inspired to donate to this project like my sister did, please click the paypal button at the top of the page. every bit makes a difference!

*****
today's look while seeing the sights:

grey t-shirt under dress: liquidation world, about four months old ($5)
dark-wash jeans: liquidation world, about eight months old ($3)
vintage blue printed ribbon around waist: random thrift store (about 10¢)
winter boots (not visible): aldo from last year (about $75)

grand total:
about $83.18

day sixty-two

one of my sister's greatest talents is her sewing. she is a sewing machine. okay, not an actual sewing machine, but rather a machine when it comes to sewing. forget a silver spoon - she was surely born with a silver sewing needle in her mouth. she puts her pedal to the metal as though she's jockeying for the lead spot in a nascar race. material is a blur as it whizzes through her machine. as she transforms lengths of jersey and silk and cotton into wearable garments in mere minutes.

and patterns? why would she even bother with those? she just drapes some material on her judy, makes a few snips here, a few adjustments there, stitches up a few seams, and voila! a halloween costume, some home accessories, or a new outfit ready just like that. she takes unwearable, outdated outfits from the depths of people's closets and transforms them into funky hats and accessories. there really is no stopping her.

her stash is incomparable. her sewing room is stacked with boxes full of patterns ranging from vintage to modern. a rainbow of threads in every colour hangs on the wall. stacks of fabric just wait to be unfolded and draped and made into new objects of desire.

and so i knew exactly who to turn to when at the eleventh hour i decided i needed two brown dresses made for this project. literally within an hour, she had chosen a basic pattern, modified it (of course), whipped a couple of yards of material into two dresses, done some alterations and sent me on my way.

after all, she had many other things to make that day, i'm sure.

*****

today's look while wishing i could sew like that:

brown shirt under dress: secondhand (free)
green tank top over dress: can't remember name of shop, but bought about ten months ago ($30)
wooden pendant: donated by my friend maike for this project - thanks! (free)
jeans: value village, about seven months old ($20)
green crocheted hat: value village, ten months old ($4)
brooch on hat: jacob, about four years old ($15)
winter boots: aldo from last year (about $75)

grand total:
about $144.08

day sixty-one

as promised, starting today, judy witty will get her name in lights for an entire week for contributing the largest donation from last week's contest - congratulations and thank you!

judy is a very modest person (too modest, i think - she is beyond talented in so many areas!) and swears she didn't enter my contest to promote any particular cause, so I will just have to give her some much-deserved recognition myself this week. if she thinks she's going to get off lightly and hide in the shadows, it's not gonna happen!

so to kick things off, judy started a fun blog this year. she is posting a photograph every day over on her website: http://judysquared.blogspot.com/. the name is derived from one of her foremost passions: sewing. (more to come on that this week.) so please head on over there first and meet my amazing big sis!

*****

today's look while making some new stuff to wear:

striped t-shirt under dress: value village, about seven months old ($7)
crocheted scarf: handmade and donated by my sister for this project - thanks! (free)
striped socks: zellers ($5)
black platform shoes: aldo from two years ago ($125)

grand total:
about $137.08

day sixty

we have a winner for my first-ever wardrobe dresstruction contest! i am so excited to announce that judith witty has won for largest donation of the week! this will be a very special week for judy. as promised, she will get her name/cause/message to the people in lights for one whole week starting tomorrow.

full disclosure time: judy is my amazing sister. but i promise this has in no way influenced the fact that she won this contest - it's completely 100% legit. she has been one of my biggest supporters since this adventure's inception. not only has she just donated a generous sum of money, she has also donated numerous items of clothing and accessories to the project. also, she is beyond talented and is the designer / creator / seamstress of my two brown dresses (which she literally whipped up within about an hour one day around christmas)! so i think it's very fitting, so to speak, that she won. congratulations, sis! mwah!

*****

today's look is in honour of lbd day over at one of my favourite spots, the uniform project. i've got on one of my most favourite and most worn little black dresses under a few layers of others. today is a fun crossroads of fashion for a cause:

black dress under dress: smart set, about two years old ($30)
purple dress: liquidation world, about seven  months old ($7)
blue beaded necklace: value village, about five years old (about $10)
silver and blue bracelet: donated by my friend vanessa for this project - thanks! (free)
pink tie around waist: refashioned by me out of an old t-shirt (free)
black tights: gifted (free)
black ruffled platform wedge sandals: if footwear, about nine months old ($110)

grand total:
about $157.08