Monday, February 24, 2014

Grungy Mommy

Thanks to Amber, another (but not grungy) Mommy, for snapping this pic and the one below.

You've heard of Yummy Mummy? Meet Grungy Mommy.

Grungy Mommy rolled out of bed this morning and ran out to a Mom and Tot's meetup around the lake with nary a thought to her wardrobe: beat up jeans; Peter Pan getaway boots; mismatched florals, and - GASP - an actual SWEATSHIRT.

Dare Grungy Mommy blog again?

Boots & scarf: retail
Jeans & Mulberry bag: Annecy thrift shop
Sweatshirt & coat: Etsy
Ray Ban shades: Annecy antique market.

Dear readers, we're in this together (unless GM's look has you running for the hills, far far away) - that means for the good outfits, and for the not-so-good ones.

Truth is, Grungy Mommy can't really get her style together at the mo. She's been struggling for a while, and sadly, has either gone the way of beige, or, well, grungy disheveled. Oddly, the latter look is appealing to her sensibility now. She's really into the Vintage Sweatshirt.

Grungy Mommy doesn't even have a photog today so she's resorted to showing you the pretty ribbons and birdies, on the second-hand 1980s-90s sweatshirt she bought recently, via an embarrassingly bad selfie. She loves the 1980s Flashdance-esque grey sweatshirt crossed with the pretty yet faded print ... a grungy-pretty hybrid, if you will.

She's digging sweatshirts so much that she also bought Cutesy-Pie one at the thrift shop last week.

She'll stop writing in the third person now.

I actually went on the thrift shop dig of my life last week and came home with some great pieces, including these 1990s chenille and velvet scarves for a Euro each.

This French-made tapestry vest matches the pillow in the background! It's super fitted and will look great with the wide-leg pre-pregnancy denim pants I can now get into, yippee ....

At least I'm somewhat consistent.

I seem to have a wondering eye in this stellar selfie, but the focus should be on the vintage wool and angora beret by Kangol. And perhaps the tie-dyed vintage sweatshirt you can just make out.

More bling. Do I need it? Of course not. I seem to be buying with an eye for selling one day down the road. It has a great weight to it, something I always look for in vintage or second-hand jewellery.

Heavy-duty 1980s ethnic necklace ....

Made in France barrette, a gift for someone ....

I may have to hang onto this one. Again, style contradictions appeal to me. The ethnic vibe of the metal versus the oh-so-girly pink pearlesque faux stones of this necklace is right up my alley.

Coats were 70 percent off so I snagged this Western German-made cashmere and lambswool blue swing coat for a song. It's one of the nicest made coats I've ever seen, with a wonderful nap. Sadly, I can find nothing about the label when I ask the Google Gods.

I'm not just Grungy Mommy. I'm also Can't Craft to Save My Life Mommy (unlike a lot of the Mommies I hang with here). When I do thank you cards these days for gifts given to Adam, I let him play on his fave iPad app, Paint Sparkle, and he whips up a gorgeous creation that I subsequently print, cut and glue onto coloured construction paper. None of the lines I cut are straight but aside from the kid's artwork people seem to like the imperfection.

And if I'm about anything, it's certainly imperfection.

I also name them, so, from left to right:

"I'm Hungry"
"Mommy in the 1980s".

In the park today (for privacy purposes I cut out the sweetie poo who was giving Adam a toy - soo sweet as most tots grab 'em). It was a glorious 14 degrees C! We haven't really even had a winter in Annecy proper. Hopefully spring is with us to stay.

Grungy Mommy signing off so she can hop over (dare she?) to Visible Monday. See you there!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Purply Paris

The River Seine at dusk.

I just spent two days in Paris as part of a girls' weekend away and thoroughly enjoyed exploring the city and getting a taste of French history. Because it was grey during the day and didn't clear until just before sunset, all of my photos have a magical purple tint to them.

Amazingly, my outfit matched the sky. I picked up this gorg mauve Italian-made wool skirt during my recent trip to the UK (charity shopped, natch), along with the mauve cashmere scarf (also charity shopped).

Notre Dame ....

Snapped a pic of the church just as the light faded, so it's a bit grainy.

The next day, at the Arc de Triomphe ....

On the Pont Alexandre III ....

Not too many outfit posts as we were so busy. We walked for almost two days solid! Tip: a cross-body bag or purse is a good idea when traveling. There are lots of pickpockets and scammers in touristy spots like the ones I visited.

View from Jardin de Tuileries, informally known as Louvre Park, looking towards the Avenue de Champs-Elysees. 

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, actually the first, albeit lesser-known and smaller, triumphal arc in Paris, located on the edge of the garden in the Place du Carrousel. 

Love locks on the Pont des Arts. Lovers write their names on locks and toss the key into the Seine. These apparently exist all over the world.

Oddly beautiful, eh? This post is low on words (for a change) as the photos speak for themselves.

We also did the Musee d'Orsay (phenomenal) but didn't take pics inside as requested - though I did manage to snap a view of Sacre Coeur from the fifth level of the museum. Other annoying tourists who considered themselves exempt from the rules, on the other hand, got all sorts of photos of Van Gogh, Monet and Renior classics ....

Anyway, it had been a long time since I've been in this wonderful city. Sure hope to go again soon with the boys.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Is living in France turning me beige?

Angora hat: Annecy consignment store
Rayban sunnies: Annecy brocante market
Silk-blend sweater with large cowl neck: Annecy thrift shop
Pendant: UK charity shop
Leather 1990s bag: Annecy thrift shop
Cashmere-blend skirt:  new,cheapie Annecy Old Town sale
Cashmere tights in grey (yes, they're luxurious and bloody warm): bought new during a frigid Toronto winter (worth it)
Leather scrunchy boots: Annecy thrift shop
Faux-fur trimmed gloves: Etsy.
Coat: Vintage sale in Toronto. 

All I seem to want to do these days is live in sand-hued neutrals. Odd for me, let me tell you. I'm stressed and not sleeping well, so perhaps I'm craving serenity in my dress, too soothe me.

Or perhaps I'm turning into a small-town French chick. The people here are pretty classic conservative.

My fear: I once read a book by one of my fave authors, Barbara Trapido, in which one of the characters, a French woman, dressed in head-to-toe grey. Her exquisitely expensive yet somber dress marked her as a passionless soul, cold and removed. I can't be turning into her, good Lord, no - she was so unlikable!

Or maybe I'm just being me, the ever-changing Gemini.

But I do kinda feel French in this: cool, reserved, calm (that's how I see the French, sometimes).

Hiding tired eyes behind Movie Star Shades.

Last week at my thrift shop's 50 percent off sale (which ends tomorrow!), I scored a bounty of amazingly crafted sweaters, including this beige silk and angora-blend sweater for 3 Euros. I have been living in it, it's so cozy and comforting. I also bought the scrunchy leather boots there too, along with the leather 1990s bag seen in my last post.

Sorry if this and the glove shot look odd. I can't seem to rotate these pics.

When hubs first saw the pendant, which I picked up at a UK charity shop for 3 pounds on our recent visit, he thought I'd spent a pile on it on Etsy. I love costume bling that looks really expensive!

These were an unusual purchase for me, but there was something about the Edwardian vibe of these fabric gloves with gigantic faux fur cuffs. They're also great with some vintage coats, which tend to be shorter in the sleeves.

My baby looks like an alien and the photo has exposure issues, but I wanted to show you how inventive I am, wearing the exact same outfit earlier in the week, except with a different sweater.

Outfit repetition aside, I had to hold back a little squeal when I plucked this black cashmere turtleneck with a posh French department store label in it from the local thrift shop rack. Ha! I knew I'd finally find one second-hand! I've been wanting (needing?) a black cashmere turtleneck since shrinking a cheapie one I bought a few years ago (in the consignment pile it went). But I refused to outlay the mega-cash that a new, Annecy-bought sweater would necessitate. This one has dainty buttons along the sleeve. Ooh-la-la!

I eventually do find my fashion heart's desire in the thrift shop ....

Interestingly enough, hubs, who typically spots a new thrift shop purchase a mile away, didn't pick up on either of these sweaters. Too beige, perhaps? Me and my Invisible Sweaters are now joining the lovely gals over at Patti's for Visible Monday. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

90s nostalgia, new coat & Annecy grunge

Classic 1990s 'bathmat' ribbed turtleneck sweater: warm & cosy and giving me the nostalgic warm-fuzzies.

Fashion flash: I am now obsessed with these 1990s-esque chenille sweaters - I found this one at my local thrift shop's 50 percent off sale (which is ongoing until next week, and oh boy, have a just found the motherlode of goodies - more on that soon) for a grand total of 3 Euros. I used to work in a shop in the 1990s and ALL my gal pals and female family members bought one of these sweaters from me. I had a dark green one; my sis, a red one like this. We called them bathmat sweaters.

Hat: retail, years ago in Toronto
Aviator shades: a Euro, Annecy thrift shop
1990s Sweater: 3 Euros, Annecy thrift sho
Leather bag: 10 Euros, Annecy thrift shop
Jeans: thrift shop in Canada
MEXX boots: consignment shop near Annecy.

Tip your hat to me 'cos I also scored these aviator glasses (never much liked 'em but these ones just called to me) and this amazing all-leather over-the-shoulder 1990s bag made in France, with wonderful, heavy hardware to boot (always a sign of quality in my book). It's in mint condition, with nary a scratch or wear on the leather. I love Annecy women, who appear to get rid of delicious handbags on a regular basis.

I look pregnant when it's done up, but I had to buy this wool sweater coat new in Annecy. I've been eye-balling it in the shop for over a month and waited until all the 50 percent off sales started in January (January and June are the only big sale times in France).

It's hard to believe that, with all my coats, I don't have a decent 'every-day' coat-jacket that I can wear with everything from jeans to skirts, but dear readers, it's true! This one fits the bill. Aside from its versatility, it's made in France, all wool, super warm, and on mega-sale. When I buy new, which is rare for coats, I like it when all the boxes are ticked: locally-made, great fabric, quality and price.

I've shown you many a picturesque shot of Lac Annecy and the surrounding mountains, but I wanted to share the slightly grungier, though no less beautiful, in my opin, view of Annecy. We often walk along the River Thiou, which empties from the lake and winds through the old town before going through the 'burbs and eventually feeding into the Rhone. I love this view of the mountains through a craggy and graffiti-filled underpass. Beauty and grunge: kinda up my alley.

The grotty path and overpass near the river, which is more creek-like here, remind me of walks I've taken in my native Canada in Ottawa and Toronto.

Loved this makeshift 'bridge' to nowhere and its industrial vibe.

The drama queen in me seized the opportunity and had hubs take a shot of me. Too bad the outcome was more comedic than anything!

Call me Big Foot. Or rather, Big Hand.

Back to the sweater. I'm kind of amazed that so many of my fashion choices these days are fueled by nostalgia, particularly for the 90s. And bummed that over the years I've given away so much! Luckily, I gave my Mom a few treasured sweaters from the 90s years ago, and God love her, not only does she still have them, but she's also ready to give them back to moi! How lovely it will be to be reunited with these oversize sweaters again - and guess what? One has chenille braiding in it. :)

One last look at the bag.

Do you find yourself longing for styles from over 20 years ago, and do you incorporate these elements into new, contemporary looks? (In the 90s, I would have worn this sweater with leggings and ballet flats: NOT!). Are we nostalgic for past fashions because we're unimaginative, or because we genuinely miss/love whatever it is we're drawn to? I tend to be slightly cynical of 'retro' fashion collections, though I do admire artfully (subtly?) done and truly historic nods or embellishments in contemporary fashion. Somehow I'm choosing to see my own re-purposed looks in a more benign light. Could it be the Romantic in me, wanting to capture a time when my world view, and most certainly me, was more innocent? Thoughts?

P.S. The gals at the mom and tots' group are all slowly being converted to shopping at the local thrift shop I frequent. A bunch of us are doing a field trip there tomorrow. This is what I do best: make people shop (thrift, of course!).!