Thursday, August 19, 2010

So impressed I may start shopping here

Taking advantage of baby D's rare morning nap, I decided to get caught up on wedding gift-buying. I googled the bride's name along with bridal + registry, and it took me to the shop they're registered at. Now, this is a first: it's a local family-run business, and they don't have an online shopping option, so I called to find out if I could purchase something over the phone. Here's what I loved about this experience:
-it took me no time at all to speak to a real person; I pressed two buttons, and was immediately transferred
-the customer service was EXCELLENT! The girl assisting me told me that I could either come in and pick up the gifts or have them gift-wrapped and leave them at the store for the couple to get after the wedding. She also specified that she wouldn't call them until an appropriate time after the wedding to let them know there were items for pick-up. Additionally, she knew how to spell my last name, which never happens!
-the place is bilingual, and I could have been served in French if I had so desired.
-the whole thing took about 10 minutes, which was sufficiently impressive

Go check them out! I know I will.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wedding wear update

Well, I am pleased to say that the wedding wear challenge will continue into the fall, thanks to the latest round of invitations! Hubby and I are honoured to be attending three weddings in the fall (and he'll be flying solo at one in Chatham, which is just a bit too far for baby D and I).

Congratulations to the lovely couples, who we can't wait to celebrate with! I'm looking forward to remixing more dresses and accessories, and for the last of the summer weddings (coming up on Friday), I decided to raid Travelling Sister's closet, since we are the same size and I enjoy her style. I tried on (but did not have the presence of mind to photograph) four dresses, and chose the only flattering one to wear. It's vintage and several kinds of awesome. It also got me thinking about the sole exception to this whole wedding wear challenge for 2010.

That would be my brother's wedding. That one's kind of a big deal, and thus it warrants a new dress. New to me, anyway. I love me some vintage dresses, and although I have a couple of nice ones, and have lost the pregnancy weight and then some, the old bod is not what she once was. My favourite vintage dress came from a shop in Bobcaygeon, of all places, and it doesn't zip up too well anymore, which is heartbreaking. So before Youngest Sister goes back to school this fall, we hit the shops to find a new dress each.

First stop: Rideau Centre. We were initially only there to find shoes for Mom, who already has her mother of the groom attire bought and ready to go, and didn't she go and find the exact shoes she was looking for, in her size and on sale, in the first store we went to? Oh, and they're comfortable, too. I'd be jealous if this wasn't the first time she's found comfortable dress shoes in her life. Anyway, so then we decided to look for dresses for ourselves. Baby D's already taken care of, but that's for another post.

So we looked in all the usual places:
Le Chateau (and I'm sorry, but if you want me to pay 130$ for a dress, it had better look amazing on me, and you had better have sizes for real women)
RW & Co (a few lovely things on clearance, but no great fits and no great prices either), and a few others. I decided that even if I found something nice, I didn't want to be potentially wearing the same thing as another guest. I wanted to go vintage.

Today Sis and I went downtown again, this time to check out various vintage stores. We visited Young Jane's on Dalhousie (the street is classed up, almost beyond recognition), which had mostly casual hipster fare, Aunt Olive's on Gilmour, and Ragtime on Flora. The latter two had much more in the way of dresses. At Aunt Olive's, the owner went down to the store room to bring up some more formal pieces when she found out we were looking for something to wear to a wedding. The prices were reasonable, and the help was excellent. Same thing at Ragtime, but they have so much more merchandise (some of which is rented out) that the quality of individual pieces can be lower. I tried on a beautiful blush-coloured dress from the 50s, and it was pretty much in tatters.

The dress I ended up buying was from Aunt Olive's; it's a fairly simple polyester/jersey one with an empire waist and a full skirt (both of which are must-haves). One of the neatest things about the dress is that it unbuttons at the front so I can nurse baby D if need be! How great is that? The other great things include the belt that the store owner found for me (which is impossible to describe without the adjectives neapolitan and stretchy, neither of which evoke images of beauty or class), and the price (54$ for the dress and the belt, taxes included). Now I just need a sturdy necklace and some cute shoes to match!

And since the wedding is in November, I may already have a suitable shrug to wear... cheeky baby will be slightly larger than shown.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

More delicious deception

Continuing the cookbook testing, I've now made several of the recipes from Deceptively Delicious. These include:
-mac & cheese (actually, Hubby made it and used two different veggie purees, cauliflower and butternut squash)
-grilled cheese (with butternut squash, and I don't like squash but you can't even taste it. Probably my most favourite so far.)
-chocolate pudding (with avocado; very rich, but somewhat off-putting in that the green avocado oil seeps out of the pudding. And I like my pudding cold, not warm)
-chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese icing (the cake was pretty dense but dry, so I'd use oil instead of margarine next time and add more melted chocolate; the cream cheese icing was really good but also very thick, so I'd thin it out with margarine or something

Overall, the savoury items are beating the pants off the sweets. I'm hoping to test out a few more of the desserts to find something suitable for baby D's upcoming birthday (not for another couple of months, though). I also need to craft some manner of invitation if I want people to show up to this thing.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

File under: I guess this is why we have baby gates

This morning I got quite a shock when baby D demonstrated a much improved ability. We had come downstairs to give Hubby a chance to sleep in, and I was letting her roam the reasonably baby-proof main level while I checked my email. She had gone a little too quiet, so I got up to check on her; I heard her banging on some cupboards, and made my way to the kitchen, where I had last seen her heading. She wasn't in there. I looked in a couple of cupboards just in case, to no avail. I still heard her, though. Which only left... wait, she can't climb stairs yet, can she?

As it turns out, she can climb all 17 of the stairs, disregard the sleeping bags and backpack on the landing, and maneuver her way into the guest bathroom where there are delightful cupboards which make a very pleasing sound when struck. I am all too aware that this could very easily have gone sideways. The baby gates are now firmly in place.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wedding wear challenge, take 3

This latest wedding has to have been one of the most beautiful weddings I have had the pleasure of attending. And we almost didn't make it! The wedding was in TO, and our plans for D's care fell partially through. Luckily, after some last-minute scrambling, we managed to secure two caregivers for baby D- sister for the ceremony, friends for the reception. We left at 11:20 am, arrived at sister's downtown hotel at 3:50, and made it to the venue at 4:45, just in time to change into our finery.

The site of both the wedding and reception was this fabulous older mansion, and it was incredible! It had been raining during the afternoon when we drove in, but the skies cleared in time for the ceremony, so it was held outdoors in the lush green garden decorated with white chairs and hydrangeas. (As an added bonus, the programs were made of bamboo fans, so guests could cool themselves!)

Hubby was very disappointed with himself for neglecting to bring dress shoes, and had to wear running shoes. He eventually got over it after gentle reminders that no one would notice what he had on. Regardless, he looked quite sharp in the same vest and pant combo from WWC1, worn with a white and blue pinstriped shirt.

I chose a short dress in a deep plum shade with a satin sash; I had worn it to a cousin's wedding a couple of years ago, and to my birthday dinner this year, though not since. The bridesmaids' dresses were also purple, but in a very different colour and style, so luckily I didn't look like I was trying to match. Accessories included dangly purple earrings (since baby D wasn't with us) and my open heart necklace. Although it's not in the picture, I paired the dress with my multi-coloured patterned pashmina from NYC.

Also shown are the beautiful bride, one of her lovely bridesmaids, and the witty, wonderful Ms. Koux; we met in university and really bonded during our 3rd year abroad in France. We also carpooled to teacher's college every day since we lived almost across the street from each other. I miss these girls and was so happy to reconnect with them!

The only regret I have about this wedding is that we couldn't stay longer- and we were there until 11pm, which is a record for this summer! We were driving up to a cottage in the Muskokas that night, though, so we needed to head out. It was a lovely, lovely wedding and we had a fantastic time!