The Not-So-Little Black Dress

Is my slip showing?

Free People skirt

Actually, this is a skirt I bought from Free People. It’s fitted at the hips and the delicate lace flares out with a scalloped hem, very dancy. The first time I stepped foot into a Free People boutique was in Seattle. I was mesmerized by the unique clothes; I found my style! Alas! Everything was out-of-my-price-range. So you can imagine the thrill of finding this $148. skirt for less than half price on Friday’s Boxing Day Sale!

black lace skirt

I bought this black lace blouse in Laguna Beach, California 8 years ago and I’m wearing it for the first time. Guess it was hiding in my closet just waiting for the right skirt to come along.

black lace blouse

My jewellery is from Spanner.

necklace and bracelet and earrings

I’m not usually black from head to toe (not even at a funeral) but I think black is a very elegant look. My favourite faux fur jacket keeps me warm, but my legs are freeezing!

black outfit with faux fur jacket


It’s the perfect skirt for dancing at the New Year’s Eve Ball tonight!

See the snow flakes on the screen? Well, tiny flurries are falling outside my window as I finish my last post for 2014.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2015!!

Photos taken at Sears Home in Kitchener –they have beautiful furniture and more; Dave is there ready to help you find what you need for your home!


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A Green Christmas

With temperatures above freezing, there was no snow for Christmas this year. Time for an impromptu photo-shoot on our way to my son’s house on Christmas Day.

Christmas Day

It wasn’t as warm as it looks, but I was able to take off my coat and scarf for two minutes before continuing to our destination.

Target dress with cardigan

I bought several dresses this summer, knowing I’d be able to wear them in winter with tights and a cardigan. I get more use out of my dresses this way.

Target dress

We had some lovely days in September when I wore this dress and planned to show it styled for warm weather as well as winter.

Target dress2

I can wear a belt high for an empire-style …

empire-style… or on my waist.

with beltI chose turquoise jewellery: I made this necklace, bracelet is from a flea market in Florida., ring from Silpada. The sheer net detail of this dress is so feminine.

DSC00657Industrial art (used for making rope many years ago) adds a touch of history along the path in Doon Village, once a little Scottish town and now part of Kitchener, walking distance from where I live.

Industrial art in Doon VillageEnjoy the holidays no matter what colour they are!


Posted in Autumn, Christmas, Fashion, Jewelry, Photography, Winter | Tagged , , , | 27 Comments

Silent Night – Holy Night

Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Frohe Weihnachten!

Sharing a sublime photo from Village Photography


God bless us, everyone!


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Christmas Fairs and Markets

One of the things I like to do during the Christmas season is go to fairs and markets. I enjoy the festivities: the atmosphere, Christmas music, meeting friends, talking to venders and I believe in supporting local artisans and vendors.

Christmas Markets have been a tradition in Germany for hundreds of years. I have fond memories of going to the Christmas market in Stuttgart. Eighteen years ago, Kitchener started the annual German-style Christkindl Market. I go every year to celebrate this joyful season.

This year I went to Fair November twice. I tried on this designer coat from Deja Vu Design. So many amazing styles and colours, hard to make a decision but it’s on my wish list!

plaid and red coat


I bought this original hand-knitted stole by Olga Sara.

stole by Olga

Pennies are out of circulation in Canada, but this artisan makes unique jewellery using pennies. Now two cents are worth $25 (talk about inflation!) I bought earrings made with 1952 pennies (my birth year) and a copper ring.


copper jewelery

Fair November

I also enjoyed two Christmas bazaars, one at the centre where I work. I bought an eternity scarf (which looks like two scarves when wrapped around twice), part leopard–part lace. I bought a colourful bracelet made with tagua nuts from Ecuador. Tagua nuts can be coloured and carved for beads, buttons and jewellery, they are an excellent replacement for ivory, even being used in bagpipes.

The Christmas bells were ringing at the church where I bought a few gifts. Esenje is very knowledgeable about organic Shea butter and speaks with passion about her natural products which use fair trade Shea butter from Africa!

The sights and sounds of the Christkindl Market were delightful once again. My grandchildren were mesmerized by the fascinating train village.

 Only a few days till Christmas … are you ready?

Merry Christmas!!!



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Leopards and Tigers and Bears, OH MY!

I’m a huge fan of animal prints and faux fur. My first leopard print was PJs that my mom bought for me in the 60s. She bought herself a pair too because she would often buy us matching clothes, including PJs. These are her beanie babies that I bought for her.

my mom's beanies

This leopard print coat is thrifted, only $15. It looks brand new, by Frederick’s of Hollywood, made in U.S.A.


When I found this tiger print coat in another thrift shop (fully lined and also $15.) I grabbed it and ran! (After paying for it, of course!)

tiger house

My white faux fur is my go-to jacket for eight years, by Canadian company Joseph Ribkoff, made in Canada. It has a hood and a two-way zipper with embroidery stitching down the front and tiny rhinestones.

white faux polar bear


With these coats, I can enjoy the beauty of animals without cruelty. It’s important to be sure that faux fur is indeed a synthetic fiber. I can tell the difference, but there are collars and cuffs and scarves made with real animal fur: dogs, cats and rabbits horribly killed.

Perhaps you’ve noticed the cute little bunny in my sidebar.

please click me

please click me

Jeanofalltrades recently shared a badge with me and I’m happy to display it in my sidebar. She has added me to her cruelty-free list of vegan fashion bloggers. Please take a look at these compassionate fashionistas.

vegan bloggersI promote fashion with compassion and beauty without cruelty.

Because fashion and beauty should not be at the expense of sentient beings!


Joining Visible Monday

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My last trip to Germany was in 1994. It was twenty years since I had seen my dear cousin Marion, so you can imagine how elated I was when I heard the news that she was coming for a visit in October with her daughter! Her first holiday in Canada was in 1965 and this was now her second time. We enjoyed some wonderful day trips around Southern Ontario together, but there never seems to be enough time to do all the things that we want to do.


Saying Aufwiedersehen was very emotional and I miss her already! I plan to go to Germany next Christmas. Marion and I will go to several wondrous Christmas Markets around Stuttgart.

I miss you Marion and Lara!

♥ carmen



Posted in Autumn, Birthdays, Christmas, Day Trips, Fashion, Photography, Scenery, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Happy Birthday Jean!

jean-at-4My daughter jeanofalltrades began her style blog in January 2011 and by the end of the year, I joined the club. When I started my blogging journey three years ago, I made a video for her birthday (and to celebrate her first year of blogging) of Jean’s outfits that she had posted on her blog. Since then, I make one every year using photos of the year from her blog.

Before Jean could dress herself, she was a little fashionista; she wanted to choose her clothes every morning and I let her, even though they didn’t always match (she never did liked matchy-matchy). She started the pattern mixing trend and has perfected it.

I bought us matching outfits (which my mom used to do with me) and I loved it. Jean didn’t seem to mind at the time, but now she only lets me dress like her as a favour to me for a photo. This one was taken the last time we were together in New York City, August 2014. We still buy some of the same clothes! Jean has great taste! ;-)

IMG_6674As a teenager, she always walked out the door in style from top to toe and I wanted to take photos of her in all her fashionable outfits (which annoyed her). She changed her hairstyle like women change shoes: everything from rat-tails and bouncy afros to long, straight blonde hair and short, sassy red hair.

 Jean’s December postjeanNow it’s a birthday tradition to make a video. Happy Birthday Jean! Keep on blogging!

♥ mom

Posted in Birthdays, Fashion, Jeanofalltrades, Memories, Videos | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Gray Day

Autumn has had days warm enough to go swimming to blustery days with snow that feels like winter. This photo was taken in early October. gray day Gray is one of my favourite neutrals; I like to pair it with black, white, red, pink or yellow, but today I wore gray with gray again. My top is from Hollister and I bought the gray floral skinnies at Old Navy. gray day I met Maggie at the mall; she bought a classy purse and I bought a cute pair of red weather-proof booties (Cougars) with zippers (all man-made). For lunch we enjoyed a veggie pita.

purse and shoes

Maggie bought hers last year and I wanted a pair ever since!

red Cougar booties

Spending the afternoon browsing through two huge Antique shops was a bit like going to a museum. Check the price of this vintage Hermes scarf!

Do you like antique shopping?

♥ carmen

Posted in Autumn, Fashion, Plant-based diet, Shopping, Vegetarian/Vegan Lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Life is a bowl of cherries; Death is the pits


click here

Marion and I saw Dr. Zhivago when we were young. The image of little Yuri at the burial of his mother still haunts me; little did I know that I would live this terrifying scene when my brother Johnny was in a fatal car accident on December 1st, 1968. I was only 16.

It was a bitter cold day in December as I stood by the grave watching the coffin lowered into the ground. Tears freezing  on my face as I cried profusely. The sting of death was more unbearable than the biting cold wind.

December is a month of mixed emotions for me: agony and ecstasy. It can be a difficult time for those who have lost loved ones: the people we cherish will forever be missed at the dinner table.

When my cousin Marion came to visit in October, Toronto was on our list of places to go. Not only to see the CN Tower …

photo-2Marion and me

But also to see the house where my family lived when Marion came to visit in 1965. She remembered it well and took this photo, recalling many memories. The owners were kind enough to welcome us in.


This photo is from 1965 with Johnny and my mom, taken by the fireplace. The big mirror is still there, even though several families have lived there during all these years.

Christmas 1965

Marion took more photos inside the house and talked about Johnny as we drove to the cemetery. It was a very emotional experience to share this moment with her. My dear cousin Marion is the sister I never had.


Yesterday we celebrated the 1st Advent of Christmas. ‘Tis the season to be jolly. I enjoy the festivities: gathering with family and friends, the sparkling lights that adorn the houses, beautifully decorated Christmas trees and the sound of holiday music, but there’s always sadness in a corner of my heart.

The joy of the Christmas season – celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ – fills my heart with peace, hope and love.

These are the best gifts that I wish for you.

AdventDedicated to Stephanie July 26, 1987 – July 30, 2014

and Sara 1975 – 1987

Death is the saddest part of life.

♥ carmen

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St. Jacobs: a town where horse and buggies are still on the road

St. Jacobs

This is a quaint little Mennonite town in Southern Ontario that always brings back special memories whenever I go: a nostalgic feeling and a place where I would live.

Marion, Lara and I enjoyed a few minutes relaxing, listening to the rustle of the autumn leaves, after a leisurely breakfast. Then it was time to go to St. Jacobs for some shopping and sightseeing. This was the only chance we had to sit in the summer room during their visit, because we were out touring all the time: out after breakfast and home after dark.

summer room It’s hard to believe that just a month ago the weather was autumnal and I only needed a light jacket. Now in November we had 15 centimetres of snow. (6 inches for my American friends).

Magnolia I found a fabulous black and gray asymmetrical top that looked like a designer top.

black and gray asyemmetrical topJust my style, just my size!

asymmetrical top

I happened to be wearing my vegan over-the-knee boots which goes great with it.

black vegan boots

So I bought it and wore it!

This is a town where shopping is an adventure!

St. Jacobsand dangerous!


thankful turkeys


to all my American friends!

♥ carmen

Joining the linkup at Patti’s Visible Monday.

Posted in Autumn, Day Trips, Fashion, Memories, Photography, Shopping, St. Jacobs, Thanksgiving | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments