Thursday, January 2, 2014

It's been great blogging for over 7 years!

It's time for me to accept that I don't have the time or passion for this blog as I once did.  I may update it occasionally as we make changes to the house or when I do some fun "window shopping" on the internet and see some great products that I may want to bookmark but I can't commit to any regular postings for 2014.

As a sign off after around six and a half years of blogging (wow!) - here are some of the highlights for me:

- the first ever comments on Heartfelt - regarding a post about winter boots
- my five-part series on locally-sourced eggs from humanely kept chickens which started here: Options for Food Deliveries

- support from Green Living Ottawa re: Heartfelt's conscious consumer post and as a "mentionable" green ottawa blog

- Michael Dolce posting about Heartfelt's review.

- Mindful Merchant's Kreativ Award - thanks so much!
Heartfelt is a trustworthy and excellent green resource. The topics are diverse, from green development, interesting documentaries and shows, eco-friendly designers and fashion finds, environmental initiatives and much more. Urban Girl provides concise environmental information without any judgement or guilt.
- Lovely, kind words from various bloggers Experiments for Efficiency, Wuppenif, Sewn Natural,  re: Heartfelt's etsy & other online finds! Couldn't erase the smiles these comments gave me!
- being on the Earth Day Canada Ecoblogist blogroll in 2010-2011
- listed as one of Ottawa's Green Blogs at Ottawa Start

- nominated in 2011 for Best Canadian Weblog Awards for Ecology/Social Justice (thanks so much!) - and congrats to the winner: Sewn Natural.

- and last but not least, making great friends like Dagne from Wuppenif - thanks for all your kind words and thoughtful comments!


22 Jul Tweet via web: Rachel Muston (@green_grrl)
@TariqPiracha @krusk Unstuffed and Heartfelt are way better blogs than mine!

From Moss Shop: see the wonderful post about Moss on thank you Katherine!!!!


And here are the posts I most enjoyed putting together: What if?, Boutique Le Local - a "must see" in downtown Gatineau, Green Date Nights and Continue the Look Into Fall (Aug 2010).

Thanks for all your support and I will be coming to visit!!  Keep on blogging!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

my etsy purchases over the years

- "an afternoon at the park" Jennifer Lommers print  (my bathroom doesn't have a window and I thought this print would be perfect (still needs to be framed)
- atlas envelopes (etsy store is closed - always get comments on these - use to be able to buy similar envelopes at the university store way back when)
- vintage george nelson bubble lamp - shipped from Cali - it was worse for wear than the photos showed but once it was wired the glow in the entrance was amazing
- squid ink kollective linen table runner - I searched FOR-EV-ER for a table runner that I liked and this colour just pops in our dining room (love!)
- house number sign from Modplexi - we chose a different colour but it looks great (all we have to do is get a new front door and a mailbox to finish the look)
- bought an organic cotton bedspread from Elsie Green and saw these vintage pillow covers to go with them - just loved the stripes and the pop of yellow
- last winter i bought these vintage bird ornaments, the mexican blanket added some colour to our guest room and the smart phone cover w pockets is great

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Energy Savings Coupons (Ontario)

Sigh!  I was looking into the NEST programmable thermostat (one of our friends has one) but it's a rather steep price and there are no government rebate discounts.  

Double sigh as I saw that through SaveONenergy (Ontario Power Authority) there ARE coupons for lighting control products and heavy duty outdoor timers and we just bought both in the last six months.  Timers for our bathroom fan switches (which I love using) and an outdoor timer for our winter holiday lights!


So I'm just posting here for a reminder - don't forget to use these great coupons!  Other purchases that receive great discounts: LED lights, CFLs, light fixtures, ceiling fans, weather stripping, hot water pipe wraps and water heater blankets, clothes lines and programmable timers for electric baseboard heaters.  And here's a screengrab that shows where you can redeem them:

Find more details about the participating retailers here.

Friday, November 22, 2013

full disclosure re: wardrobe - Part Two

Beyond adding some basics to my closet (as discussed in the first part of this series), I've realized (not surprisingly) that I need to look at what pieces I DO TURN to on a REGULAR basis for WORK and for CASUAL events.  It makes sense to continue focusing on these pieces for new purchases in the future.  So here are my tried and true:

1. brown batwing top (similar to the We3 Kimono top shown 2nd row, 1st image below) - I'm always wearing this - it makes everything look a bit dressier but it's as comfortable as a tee.  Also you don't have to wash it much as you are never sweating directly on the fabric (also a great top for public speaking!)
2. Myco Anna grey jacket (shown 2nd row, Middle image) I've had this forever and still find it a favorite piece.  I got lucky as my boyfriend (now husband) bought it even though I was eyeing a Myco patchwork full-on sweater. He thought this would be more versatile.  Here it's paired with a blue tee but lately I've been wearing it with the next piece listed - a grey tunic.
3. long grey smoking lily tunic (not shown - this is an unexpected great layering piece!) - I seriously am planning on writing to Smoking Lily to see if they will bring this top back.  I wear it with the grey jacket as mentioned but it also paired well with the Smythe jacket purchased.  It's this incredibly light-weight wool and has a funnel neck that gathers nicely in the front.
4. two Fink tunics (bought a second in grey) (shown 3rd row, 1st image) - love, love, love this - wear it both in the summer and with a long-sleeve layer in the winter.  I changed three times for a gelato double date this summer and finally ended up with this - a fun yet sophisticated look with jeans.  LOVE.
5. blue short sleeve loose tunic (from victoire) - sadly I cut out the tag so don't know who designed it.  this is one of those flowy, sheer tops like the one pictured (2nd row, 3rd image) but again it pairs nice with a tank top or a long sleeve top in the winter and always makes a simple chic statement.
6. two Smythe jackets (gold one shown - 1st row, 3rd image) - two blazers that go great with jeans and over dresses and with slacks.  The gold one is linen and my other is wool so I have seasonal options.  These are made in Canada and I'm looking forward to wearing both for many years to come.
7. black embroidered button-down cotton blouse (not shown) - bought this at Mark's Work Wearhouse - when I can't find something online or around town that is sustainable, I turn to Mark's for basic purchases.  They seem to be one store that still sells 100% cotton (pants, shirts, sweaters).  Again I'm still wearing this one shirt I bought there years ago - wish I could have four in different colours.
8. Two dresses: Synergy and Tangente (1st and 3rd rows) - for me dresses are very hit and miss but these two were hits. Very simple A-line skirts to even a more pencil-line silhouette and a top that doesn't have a low-neckline.
9. Elements long sleeved boat neck tops by HT Natural:  I have two - I wish I had ten.  They are a thin layered organic cotton, viscose bamboo blend that have really withstood the test of time.  These two I wrote about here were different styles from the boat neck and surprisingly they all have very different fits.  The boat neck was the best both in fit and in fabric and the neck style is more sophisticated.  I've received compliments on this shirt.  (HT Naturals is defunct as a clothing store but the owners have now being working on creating a whole new sustainable fabric: Craillar.)

Interestingly enough I went back to BGGO (where I purchases the brown bat wing top) just to see if she still sold similar items and she was shocked that I was still wearing it and that it was in great condition.  This is only a three to four year old purchase.  Really?  You don't think people wear their clothes that long?  Sadly she didn't have anything like it and wasn't making any Fair-Trade purchases any more.  And that is what prompted me to buy the We3 top.  (It IS very similar I am happy to say!)

I've also worn the two other pieces shown - the fuscia wrap (was a favorite of mine at school - great to wrap around basic tees) and the Ile Aiye shrug (which I just found out doubles as a round scarf!)

I found that I wore both the Fink top and the brown batwing top so much that it made sense to invest in a second piece.  I'm also thinking about purchasing a second Myco Anna jacket.  This exercise is also helping me see what silhouettes I enjoy wearing in dresses (not surprising that I was drawn to the Tangente dress with the kimono like sleeves!)  I did have to take in the Tangente dress when I got it (it was supposed to be custom fit but with the loose fitting top it didn't translate well to custom sizes).  But I find it a great staple for work now!

For now I'm going to limit purchases to a couple of layering pieces, any pants that are a great fit (those are so hard to find) and when needed invest in some pieces I know I will get wear from - similar to my favorites above.  If you have any styling secrets or wardrobe stories do share them with me!!

Heartfelt Wardrobe: Part One Here

Sunday, November 17, 2013

full disclosure on my closet - part one

It's been awhile since I purchased my first sustainable piece of clothing from Blank Clothing in Montreal Quebec.  Quite awhile: six years in fact!  Those hoodies and the Wildlife Works tees were my first wardrobe purchases into sustainable fashion.  Alot has changed since then but I still have many of my pieces.  Now if you would meet me any day of the week, at least part of my wardrobe, if not most of my wardrobe would be second-hand or sustainable.

My most recent purchase?  A We3 Kimono Essential Top.  I've been eyeing these shirts for awhile but I just couldn't justify the price - finally made the leap as they are on sale and I must say it was worth it.

My other recent purchase/investment?  A reconstruction of a second hand wool jacket - pairing leather sleeves (from another second-hand purchase that I only wore occasionally) with this new jacket (shortened and sides take in).  I'm now wearing it everyday and since the sleeves and the jacket are similar colours, I know I will wear this jacket, long past the end of the two-tone leather sleeve - wool jacket trend.

I've spent alot of time this year, rethinking my wardrobe, as I find that I'm still making purchases (even while sustainable) that don't get the wear that I thought they would and going forward I want to know what to invest in as I make the transition into a second career that is a little bit less office-y.  I invested in a "fashion-wardrobe rethink" consultation with a fashion consultant who introduced the idea of more relaxed, informal pairings that still look professional and suggested an investment in some "casual" jewelry (when I didn't even know that concept existed).  I've also spent time "researching" - looking at many fashion blogs - some of which are just fun and some that I've found helpful in restyling ideas: Closet Visit (all about high fashion with lots of nods to second-hand purchases),  Not Dressed Like a Lamb (although still too colourful for me), Daily Connoisseur (Stylish Tips from Paris - I love the simple chic but may be too chic for me), Putting Me Together (who has great images to show how to dress down and dress up a look), Cotton and Curls (very simple yet fashionable sewing projects) and of course Recycled Fashion and Style Wilderness but I still don't think I've figured out what works best for me.  Not surprising as fashion style is so personal and I'm looking for something that extends beyond trends and accessory-heavy outfits.

Beyond all of this, I think the other thing that is helping is analyzing what's now in my closet - what I'm wearing and what I'm not.  I've realized that I have many individual pieces but what I'm lacking are the basics, the clothes that you would use to layer with.  This is the reason I'm not wearing certain clothes - as I don't have the right items to layer with them.  Sadly you never have that "must buy this piece" when thinking about that basic t-shirt.  So that's why I've been doing some reviews about these pieces.  You find these reviews on other fashion blogs - where the author and commentators deliberate on what works and what price points make sense.  But I haven't found many recommendations on the best tee or tank that are great pieces and ALSO sustainable.  So that's why I'm putting them here (short-sleeve, long sleeve).

Through analyzing and purging items that I've never worn, I have been able to start to make a list for future shopping trips - part of which are buying a second (or third) of styles that are my go-to pieces.... stay tuned.

Heartfelt Wardrobe: Part Two here

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Long sleeved Layering Piece

I really like a boat neck or ballet top neck style.  Along with a short sleeve layering piece, I'm finding that I need a couple of long sleeve pieces for winter.  I have the Faeries Dance Boat Neck Top in black and it is holding up well.  I also have brown (sleeves are too loose), beige (has a pattern on the front - only good for layering with certain pieces) and blue long sleeved tops.  I have a couple of grey tops (half to 3/4 length sleeves) but one is too short to use except with a skirt and the other has a pattern and is casual - maybe could layer with a jacket(?).  What I need to figure out is the best colour (or perhaps colours) to round out my wardrobe that would work with the pieces that I already have.

Definitely a white one, another neutral one and mustard or burgundy and/or maybe a striped one would be fun.  One for now... thinking white would be the best firs investment.

Faeries Dance - Boat Neck Top (weblink)

68% Viscose from Bamboo, 27% Organic Cotton, 5% Spandex

Colours: Jewel (blue) and Black

Made in China (sweatshop-free)


Indigenous Design - Luxury Tee (weblink)

100% organic pima cotton (low impact dyes)

Colours: White, Black, Grapefruit

Fair Trade


Nixxi - Ballet Top (weblink)

Made in Canada

Colours: Heather Grey, Blue, Yellow

$68 (Tencel/Wool jersey)

Colours: Black and Navy

$58 (Bamboo/Organic Cotton)

(Not all sizes - colours available)

Faeries Dance - Ballet Top (weblink)

Organic Cotton - Spandex

Colours: Rain (light blue) and Black

Made in China (w fair-labour standards)


Stewart and Brown - Half Sleeve Long Tee (weblink)

100% organic cotton

Colours: Blue Burst, Saffron, Wine

Slim fit - hits at mid-thigh

Made in the U.S.A.


WE3 - 3/4 Raglan Sleeve Essential (weblink)

Viscose (bamboo-cotton-spandex) or Merino Wool

Colours: Black, Blue, Military, Red (Wool), Charcoal (Viscose)

Made in Canada

$35 - $96

I'm going to be following up this piece, later this month with details on my fashion journey (oh my!) and what pieces I keep turning to that WERE a great investment.  I have basically replaced MOST of my closet since I began this journey in 2007-08.  It's hard to imagine replacing a whole closet, it's not that simple - there's no way you can do it in one go.  Luckily I hadn't invested alot in my (plastic) clothes and was able to replace things along the way and started doing a lot of research into basics - some of which can be found on this blog.

Here are some ideas for transitioning your closet:

ONE: Start familiarizing yourself with some of the online shops that sell multiple brands of sustainable clothes.  Have fun with this research!  Use these as your go to places instead of the Gap, Suzy Sheer, Target, H & M, Banana Republic or other stores.

TWO: Start with something simple like underware.  Maybe it can be an effort from the inside out.  There are some companies that sell different options or some that focus on basics.

THREE: Go to second-hand stores to purchase some items - office clothes can be found at more upscale consignment stores and I find all my jeans at Value Village.  (yes - I've found skinny jeans!)

FOUR: Think more natural, breathable fabrics - your skin will thank you.  This is one of the reasons I started to switch out my clothes.  Try and invest in organic, sustainable ones.

FIVE: Pure Citizen and other online discount sales are great places to start making small investments in your new wardrobe and to be introduced to new brands.  Think classics not fads - so that your clothes can be worn for many years.

SIX: When you identify a new piece that you really need go to your new favorite online (or local) sustainable shops.  This is your chance to start investing.  You are investing in yourself, your clothes and the planet!  If you don't know where to buy a specific item - do an internet search or find a blog that has done the research for you!

SEVEN: Ask for gifts purchased from your favorite sustainable shops and don't get all verklempt if your newly gifted PJ's are NOT organic cotton.  Not everyone is going to be able to help you make these purchases.  Just enjoy the gift none the less!

EIGHT: Stock up on basics when you find something you like.  Also consider Etsy, if one purchase works really well for you, it could be very easy to ask the seller to make you another (that's what I did with Fink and she created the second top many years after I purchased the first and with pleasure!)

NINE: Think of the three R's in terms of your closet: reuse (through clothing swaps and upcycling), recycle (by donating your clothes and fabric) and repair items (rather than replacing them).  Make friends with a good tailor and cobbler in your neighborhood.

TEN: It's taken me six years to get to a place where MUCH of my wardrobe is sustainable in some way whether fabric, location, conditions, etc.  Don't beat yourself up if you do have to stray off the path.  We all do!  Just enjoy the journey on the way!  And don't forget to share your best finds!