Spotted: The Belcarra Blouse

by Nadine on July 22, 2014

Ladies and gentlemen, I made something with (short) sleeves!

Who lives in a loft with no overhead lighting? This girl!


Pattern: Belcarra Blouse by Sewaholic
Fabric: Polka-dot mystery fabric — I won a giveaway!
Size: Cut a straight 6.

This was my first-ever Sewaholic pattern.

Um, I impulse-bought three others. So it certainly won’t be the last.

Back to Belcarra.

I won a giveaway on Miss Crayola Creepy’s blog in the spring, which included about a yard and a half of this polka-dot fabric. I had no plans for it. I was too caught up in “must make a green dress or die.”

Last week, when I was suffering from a very severe case of cabin fever, I decided I needed to MAKE something. So I downloaded this pattern, pieced it together, and…procrastinated for a few days.

I’m the worst.

Anyway, here she is.

The fabric isn’t as soft and drapey as the pattern probably deserves, and I’m not sure how I feel about the neckline fit — raglan sleeves don’t always sit flat and I’m trying to figure out if I made it too big or too small — but this will definitely get some wear.

And I’ll be making the pattern again, too, I’m sure. Next time, it’ll be a snap to sew up. Such a straightforward, no-drama make. (Highly recommended for beginners!)

Anyone else out there tackling a sewing project or two this summer?



by Nadine on July 21, 2014

Please go see Boyhood.

When critics call this movie “a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” it’s because it is.

This thing took TWELVE YEARS to make. You watch a boy grow up — literally — on the screen.

It doesn’t take long before you’re watching it as if you’re his parent:

You want to rescue him. You get nervous for him. You fear the worst will happen.

It’s just a beautiful, simple, story about growing up…that attaches itself to your brain for days after you leave the movie theatre.

P.S. Patricia Arquette is always so wonderful.

P.P.S. I want the Beatles’ “Black Album.”



by Nadine on July 20, 2014

I used to believe that if you were alive for the trend the first time, you’re not allowed to participate the second time around.

So even though I called the shortalls-comeback — I told Matthew that it was inevitable that they follow last summer’s crop-top resurgence — I don’t feel like I’m allowed to wear them. Because I already did. At camp. When I was 10.

Also, I swear this outfit is currently available at Topshop/H&M/Zara.


What if you were around for a trend and totally missed it?

Birkenstocks. They’re everywhere. And until Friday evening, I’d never been a fan. When it came to chunky footwear in the ’90s, I opted for silver velcro Guess platforms over the classic leather sandals. Because I was a discerning teenager with impeccable taste.

Sadly, I have no photographic proof the silver shoes ever existed. Nor do I have photos of my silver-eyeliner days.

Boys, I was so cool. Why didn’t any of you want to date me?!


My toe is broken AND Birks are back in a big way. So I gave in and bought my first pair.

For the first time in two weeks, I CAN WALK.

Birks change your life. It’s actually true!

Now for Challenge #2: I’m going to a wedding on Saturday. And I have to wear said Birks if I want to survive the day.

So now not only am I wearing Birkenstocks like a ’90s kid, I’m doing the dress-with-Birks thing, bringing me one step closer to turning into my celebrity doppelgänger:

Probably no socks for me. I have my limits.

And because I needed a dress for this wedding — I realized that I’ve worn all of my dresses to family weddings in the last three years and wanted to wear something a little less “Haven’t I seen that in every other wedding group shot?” — I visited my favourite store ever and splurged on something, um, pretty ridiculous. Frilly cap sleeves! Lace! Bodycon! (I’m typically a ‘What-would-Audrey-wear?’ A-line gal.)

It’s pretty much straight out of 90210. I’m in trouble.

(Fun fact: In Grade 4, someone told me I looked like Tori Spelling, pre-boob-and-nose jobs. “Thank you???”)

Matthew suggested I wear a scrunchie in my hair. I’m worried it will be too much…with the old leather fringe purse I’m planning to resurrect. It’s back to the future!

Off to tease my hair to death… (Kidding. Maybe.)

I own velcro rollers. This is within my hairstyling powers. 

The things a busted toe can do to you.


Put Your Feet Up, Stay a While

by Nadine on July 17, 2014

I need this.

That is, until my need for foot-elevation is trumped by the need* to get up from my desk. Then I will get stuck/tangled up and fall on my face.

I don’t know if comfort is worth the risk of sudden office death.


*Coffee break, bathroom break, repeat. Am I right, writers? 


These Feet Were Made For Walkin’

by Nadine on July 14, 2014

If you have a foot fetish — please DON’T tell me if you do — these pics will do you no good.

Swollen ankle, an improvement since 9 a.m.; Broken toe.

This morning, I woke up in pain. The other foot.

Not only is my right foot still semi-out-of-commission — the doc said to stay off it for SIX TO EIGHT WEEKS — my left ankle is painfully swollen. Because…mosquitoes.

(At least Matthew and I won at bocce ball while mosquitoes feasted on my ankle, right? Right?!)

No shoes for me this week.

When I was a kid, I’d slather on sunscreen, douse myself in bug spray, and end up the most burnt and bitten kid at camp.

Personal record: 20 bites in one evening. And that was just my hands.

Now that I’m an adult, the bugs love me even more. And my body reacts in horrible, awful ways, often leaving me temporarily disfigured.

I think it’s safe to say I have an allergy. (Last year, my arm looked broken. That’s how much damage one mosquito bite did.)

Moral of the story: When I get stressed around buggy campfires, it’s not because I’m a wimp, it’s because I anticipate hating my life in the days to come. And bug spray might work for those of you who barely notice the little pests, but mosquitos aren’t going to let a little Deet shower get in the way of going to town on my limbs. Through layers of clothing.

I’m not an (always) indoor cat by choice.

I think I’m ready to move to the Seychelles. (No mosquitos AND “tropical paradise” conditions. Sign me up. Oh, wait. There might be pirates.)

I will walk again. One day. Hopefully before it snows.

And maybe one day I’ll even wear these again:

Married ladies with functional feet, do you ever wear your wedding shoes?


The Hotdog Sandwich

by Nadine on July 11, 2014

A few weeks ago, when Matthew and I were still recovering from pretty severe jet lag post-Europe, we went to a backyard barbecue at one of Matthew’s friends’ houses.

Yes. A backyard. In Toronto.

We stayed for six hours.

In the earlier hours, a toddler (attended by responsible parents) was waddling in and out of our seating area. When the host fired up the barbecue, he asked for a “hotdog sandwich.”

Fast-forward to this week.

Because we didn’t have tartar sauce to top his fish sandwich, Matt opened a jar of homemade relish we’d had in our pantry — it’s a bookshelf in the kitchen — for over a year.

The relish was amazing.

So, the next day, when Matt started making lunch, he reached for the relish first.

What goes with relish? Hotdogs.

We don’t have hotdogs.

So, inspired by a 2-year-old named Heathcliff — Heathcliff!! — I suggested a “hotdog sandwich.”

He’s had one two days in a row now.

Bread. Deli meat. Cheese. Mayo. Ketchup. Mustard. Relish.

Sometimes we eat aged cheese and roasted figs. And sometimes we eat like preschoolers.


The Worst. It Happened.

by Nadine on July 10, 2014

Guys, the ice cream truck is outside my building. It’s playing its song. I have cash.

I can’t walk that far.

This blog was supposed to be about me working from home and doing fun at-home things, NOT about being stuck at home with a sore foot on a beautiful summer’s day.

Let me outta here!



[Photograph by bwallacephoto]



by Nadine on July 8, 2014

On Friday night, I picked up one of these handy things at IKEA:

While I write (almost exclusively) in our tiny office during the day, I often do late-night research in front of the TV. And a laptop on a lap is hot. A laptop on a pants-less lap — because I’m wearing shorts, not because I’m a nudist after hours — is probably very ill-advised.

So the BYLLAN is a no-brainer.

On Saturday afternoon*, I broke my right baby toe.

I walked into Matthew’s shoe. There was a crunching sound. And PAIN.

Don’t ever pick me for your sports team. I can’t even walk like a reasonably coordinated human, apparently. See chart below:

Now my office is on the couch. And my new IKEA purchase has been a job-saver.

At least I painted my toenails before the injury, right?

*I haven’t been outside since the toe-crunching incident. Because it hurts to walk. And it REALLY hurts to wear shoes.

Broken toes can take up to 6 weeks to heal. Sigh. I guess I’ll be wearing taped toes and sandals — instead of super-cute pink heels — to weddings this summer.

Have you ever broken a toe? Please share your encouraging “it will heal faster than you expect” stories. (Did you end up with super-athletic ability? A Rookie of the Year story? Man, I LOVED that movie….)


The Best of Barcelona

by Nadine on July 7, 2014

This was “our” street. It’s three hours away from turning into party central.

We’ve been home from Europe for almost a month now and I’ve totally neglected to recap our time in Barcelona.

When I first met Matthew, he told me he wanted to live in Barcelona. So I made it a priority to visit as soon as possible. Now that we’ve been there together, I think I can safely say that, A, we probably won’t ever move there, and, B, it’s a great holiday spot worthy of frequent visits…especially if we ever move to, say, Paris. (Please?) Sort of like Europe’s Miami Beach. Par-tay!

We took the train from Paris to Barcelona. It’s a little pricey, the food is questionable — as in, “Does food exist on this train? WHAT?! It’s all gone?!” — and 95% of the washrooms ran out of toilet paper before we arrived. Still, it was very worth it. For the views.

Barcelona was H-O-T at midday. Quiet in the morning. Buzzing in the evening.

Highlights included:

1. La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia was a surprise highlight. I had no idea I would be so moved by this gorgeous basilica. Don’t judge its imposing exterior. The interior is so light-filled and…conducive to prayer? Unlike Notre Dame and other famous churches, this one has no room for politics. Every detail exists to reveal something about God or scripture. 

2. Montjuïc Castle

I finally got to see a castle that wasn’t tacky! (Sorry, Versailles. You were too over the top for this gal.) Although it was a little sketchy, history-wise.

3. Overpriced sangria on the beach (+ cheap alcohol elsewhere)

I’m not endorsing drinking alcohol in the hot sun. But it happened. A few times.

4. The beach

When you’re hot, where else is there to go? (Other than an air-conditioned room. Which is my go-to destination in T.O.)

Overrated: Humidity. We showered twice a day.

And now for the most important part: the food!

1. Quimet i Quimet

This was the last tapas place we visited — and the most memorable. The standing-room-only place focuses on preserves. And everything is little and affordable and delicious. And they have their own beer. We shared eight small plates — and had two drinks each — for the equivalent of $50 CAD.

I want to go (back) to there.

2. Golfo de Bizkaia

We ate here…um…three times. Loyalty.

The wine is cheap. So is the food. The atmosphere is hip. (Very few tourists or people over 40.) And they trust you. Grab a bite or two from the trays of tapas. Save the toothpick stuck in each item. At the end of the night, they tally your toothpicks and charge you for how much you ate. That’s it.

If we lived in Barcelona, we would be regulars.

3. Cal Pep

 We’d heard (very) good things. We waited in line for an hour. And then let the chef bring us whatever he wanted. It was a daring move that paid off — mostly. We ended up with a few more fried dishes than we would’ve preferred. (Fried artichokes!) But vacations aren’t for feeling good about yourselves, right? And they’re certainly not for pooping. (DRINK MORE WATER.)

Bonus: They gave me a bottle of chilled white wine. At the end of the night, they only charged me for how much I drank. THIS NEEDS TO BE A THING EVERYWHERE.

4. 7 Portes

THIS is how to eat spinach. With raisins and toasted pine nuts.

Everything is closed in Barcelona on Sundays. Except this “Sunday night institution.”

Guys, there was live piano accompaniment! And paella. We wanted needed paella. This hit the spot.

Also, Yoko Ono and Charlton Heston ate there once. So says the bench Matthew was sitting on. If it’s good enough for Moses, it’s good enough for everyone.

5. Bar Pinotxo

Some say this is the best in the city. Bar Pinotxo is located in in the famous La Boqueria Market. It’s a little crazy/crowded there, but the food was tasty — best garbanzo beans of the trip — and the experience fun. Recommended.

Honorable mention: Dulcinea. Because…chocolate for breakfast.

Oh, and while we were at the market, we bought a super-pricey slice of jambom iberico, the “world’s best ham.” Just because we could. (No, there’s no reason anyone NEEDS the world’s best ham. Ham is ham.)

And Milk, a hipster-bar-worthy-of-Bloordale breakfast spot. It was a little surreal. It felt like home. Complete with granola and Passion Pit.

(According to our Airbnb host, Barcelona doesn’t really “do” breakfast. No kidding. The place is dead in the a.m.)

Phew. That’s it, folks. We ate, we drank, we saw things. I got blisters. The sunscreen worked. And I got a stamp on my passport.

I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. Where to next, Matthew?

Read Paris highlights here, here, and here.


Cruisin’ to a World Cup Win

by Nadine on July 4, 2014

Am I right, ladies?