Remixing old favourites with the new

This month has been filled with challenging myself to get creative with pieces that I purchased towards the end of last year and learning how to remix them. One piece that I really wanted to remix was the twist front crop top from my holiday party outfit. I wanted to style it in such a way that worked with my everyday life instead of the initial intention of using it for a party outfit.

missguided cropped moto jacket
eShakti midi skirt moto jacket outfit
outfit details:
cropped moto jacket: MISSGUIDED (similar)
twist front crop top: Topshop (similar in blush)
grid print midi skirt: c/o eShakti (exact)
leather booties: All Saints (similar)
vintage Coach legacy purse: thrifted (exact in brown)
geometric necklace: Maslo Jewelry (exact)

The crop top and high wasited skirt combo never seems to fail! This grid print midi skirt has the perfectly sized pleats that make it so easy and flattering to wear. Bonus points for having pockets! Although eShakti is known for their size and design customizations, I chose to go with a standard size 4 for this skirt. While I have submitted custom measurements for personally purchased eShakti pieces in the past (like this cheetah print dress from 2012), I kept to the standard measurements for this skirt and so glad that I did!

thrifted vintage coach legacy purse
With the two newer pieces – crop top and skirt – that were introduced to my closet towards the end of 2016, I wanted to balance this outfit out with my longtime favourite closet pieces: cropped moto jacket and thrifted vintage Coach purse.

Even though we’re still in the first month of 2017, I think I’m ready to say that this will be one of my favourite outfits of the year. It feels the most “me”, and I love it!

Why I choose to thrift

I’m starting today’s post off with a few personal thoughts before diving deeper into the topic. After sharing that majority of my clothing purchases in 2016 were actually thrifted, it sparked some really great dialogues (thank you!!) asking how I got into thrifting and why I continue to buy secondhand.

To be frank, my response to “Why do you thrift?” is two-fold:
1. From a financial aspect, it can be more wallet friendly to buy secondhand. I say “can be” purposefully, because it is very possible to spend more on rare pieces than buying new at retail (e.g. vintage designer purses). For the most part, it’s wallet friendly.
2. There’s a huge negative environmental and economical impact to countries who export fast fashion labour that goes widely unspoken of. Many people who work in factories producing clothing sold to consumers as dirt cheap prices get paid dirt cheap wages. Often, many of these factories do not meet safety standards, do not provide healthy work environments, and don’t treat their labour force fairly. For these very reasons, I have a hard time continuing to support businesses who exploit human labour and am actively learning what it means to be a conscious consumer.

In an effort to spend (and save) more consciously, I’ve decided to own less pieces in my closet and get creative with thrifting the majority of the new-to-me pieces that get added as I rediscover gaps in my wardrobe staples. Instead of filling the landfills with more unwanted clothing, I’ve been shopping consignment, Goodwill, eBay, and Poshmark to hopefully reduce the amount of waste produced. Some of my favourite pieces – many of which you’ve seen on the blog – are thrifted treasures!

the demure muse // vintage Coach Legacy purse
thrifted vintage Coach Legacy purse from Falling for monochrome post, Sept 2016

Thrifting is something that’s been part of my life since I was a kid. Because I used to spend a couple weeks every Summer living with my grandparents, my grandma used to take me along to run her daily errands. Aside from learning how to pick the best produce at the grocery store and the Chinese names of my favourite dishes at dim sum, my grandma taught me how to be a smart thrifter. It was her passion for finding good deals and patience for waiting it out for the perfect piece that helped to shape the way I thrift today. I have so many fond memories of going to Goodwill stores with her, which is probably why I have such a positive association with the stores as an adult today.

As a blogger who has felt the pressures of trying to stay up to date with trends in the past, I have definitely fallen victim to supporting fast fashion. As I’ve grown older and have started to settle into my personal style that isn’t heavily influenced by the window displays of stores, I have gotten better about thrifting pieces based off of the styles more than off the labels.

I know that thrifting and buying secondhand isn’t for everyone. There have been many times that I’ve talked about thrift finds to people who gave me the stink eye about buying used items, but to each their own! I personally love the thrill of finding unique pieces and knowing that I’m helping to reduce the amount of waste in landfills.

If you’re ever curious about learning more about the “cost” of fast fashion, I highly recommend checking out the documentary The True Cost.

Cabin fever

This past weekend, my partner and I took a short road trip to Crystal Mountain (~2 hours outside of the city). While I usually opt to stay indoors on chilly Winter days, we’ve found ourselves on a mountain snowboarding almost every other weekend since the end of December. Even though I was still recovering from the last snowboarding trip, I tagged along for the drive to enjoy being outdoors in the powder. I go a bit “crazy” (aka have too much energy for my own good) when I get cabin fever!

pnw outfit
This has got to be the most stereotypical west coast, Pacific Northwest-er, outfit I’ve ever worn! I call it my “cabin outfit” because I dream about wearing it to a cabin on a winter getaway. In reality, I wear it to work on an almost weekly basis. I love this outfit because it incorporates: a thrifted piece, a gifted top from my family, and a borrowed beanie and backpack from my fiance (what’s his is soon-to-be-mine, right? haha!). I haven’t owned a flannel buttondown since I was about 10 years old, which my grandma bought to help me brave the winters as a kid who hated being outside at recess. Over the holidays, my family (back in Toronto) decided it was about time for me to own a flannel shirt since apparently not owning one and living in Seattle is a faux-pas.

Seattle winter hike
UGG Cecile boots styled
outfit details:
plaid flannel buttondown: American Eagle (exact)
cable knit cardigan: thrifted via Goodwill
UGG Cecile boots: c/o J.Jill (exact)
leggings: Lululemon (similar)
Especial Primo backpack: Timbuk2 (exact)
beanie: borrowed from the fiance ;)

how to style flannel
If you’re wondering what’s up with my thigh-high snow legs, there’s a funny story behind that. You might’ve already read it on Instagram over the weekend, so feel free to gloss over this paragraph if you did! While we were taking these photos, there was a really cute spot I wanted to walk further over to. T was asking if the snow was packed enough to stand on, since he was only wearing sneakers after having changed out of his snowboarding boots. “Trust me! It’s packed solid!” was my response and then not a moment later after making that statement, I fell through into thigh-deep snow!

Of course, we couldn’t stop laughing about it and that’s how we ended up with this set of silly photos. Moral of the story is to never trust me as your snow tour guide. I will get too excited jumping around in it and end up with soaking wet socks for the 2 hour car ride home from falling through non-packed piles of snow.

… aaaaand blooper! This was taken right after falling through the surface of the snow into thigh-deep powder. As you can tell, I was having a splendid time with snow down my boots!! This is my, “hey can you help me out of here?” face.

plaid flannel outfit - blooper

Goals for 2017

Re-reading goals posts from previous years, I always tend to start off with “[current year – 1] was the busiest year yet!” In an honest effort to try to avoid writing that same statement this year, I’m closing the chapter to 2016 and its reflections and moving straight into 2017. New year, new goals. (If you’re interested, past posts from 2016, 2015, 2014 reflections, 2013 reflections linked)

2017 is the year of being intentional. I did a lot of soul searching and self exploration last year, learned a lot, and now am ready to apply it all! It’s a hefty list, but here are my 2017 goals:


(via @viacalligraphy)

eat healthier. No more daily chocolate. Less fast food (bye, McDonald’s!). Maybe try paleo or Whole30? Realizing that I only have one body in this life, it’s time to start taking better care of it.

go to yoga regularly. Given that 2016 was full of exactly 1 yoga class (completed on December 31, 2016, no less), 2017 is going to be a more productive year. I forgot how good it felt to stretch all the muscles that sit stiff during the work day. Plus, it’ll be a nice balance to the on-and-off cycling and jogging that happens in the warmer seasons.

start wedding planning! We haven’t quite decided if we’re going to have a (traditional) wedding yet, so this goal is a little gated on whenever that first decision is made. Will it be 2017? 2018? Not sure, but it’s on the list just in case!

go paddle-boarding at least 2X. Being out on the water is my favourite thing to do in the Summertime. So much paddle-boarding happened last Summer and I can’t wait to surpass that number this year! It’s a bit of a trek to get to the water though, which is where the “2X” comes into play.

continue “no tech” weekends. My partner and I pick one day of the weekend to meet up at a coffee shop and hang out without our phones. This is something new that we started in the Fall of 2016 and really enjoyed. There’s something really special about not feeling the pressures to be constantly connected to social media and enjoying the presence and full attention of whoever you’re with. This is also our reading and journaling time, which gets me excited for the next goal…

finish documenting 2017 in bullet journal form! After a year of stalking beautifully designed and pages of bullet journal layouts (the #bujo tag on IG is the best inspiration!), I’ve finally taken the plunge to start my own. I got a set of grey Moleskine cahiers and ultra fine Shapries for Xmas and will be working my way from the front to back cover. (note: the combo of these pages and Shapries isn’t the best… but I’ll go into that more in another post)

blog authentically. A lot of my unfiltered, candid thoughts were shared in the first post of 2017. This goal is almost the most important one to me because I truly felt like I lost my voice a bit on this blog (compared to my voice on other platforms) last year. Here’s to being more transparent, sharing more personal stories, and continuing to build the awesome blogging community!

budget $200/m for clothes. no carry overs! I’ve never had a self-implied clothing budget before, so this one will be a challenge. With shifting my shopping habits from cutting fast fashion to primarily thrifting and buying “investment pieces”, we’ll see how well I can stick to this budget.

send at least 5 pieces of snail mail. Because who doesn’t love a little surprise in their mailbox? I had so much fun penning and mailing holiday cards in December that I hope to keep this old school pen + paper going! Something to do during those “non tech” mornings…

organize Instax photo collection. Last year I went a little crazy printing Instax photos. Now that my fridge is covered in photos, I’ve started to sprawl out my prints on the kitchen table. Food tables are no place for photos, so I’m looking to get crafty about organizing and storing the prints this year.

practice calligraphy once a month. This should be “easy” considering my goal to complete a bullet journal and seeing all the inspiring, beautifully penned pages on Instagram. *fingers crossed*

stay positive!! Saved the best one for last!

REVIEW: Betabrand indigo travel jeans

I cannot thank you all for the comments, feedback, and constructive conversations around this weekend’s post about the future of this lil ‘ol blog. I read every single one of the comments, emails, and DMs and cannot thank you enough for the ongoing support. I’m excited to see what 2017 has in store for all of us and will keep the transparency going on my end if you promise to keep the feedback coming too! ;)

With that said, I’m excited to kick off the first review of 2017 with an item that was purchased last year. A few of you requested reviews for items that I purchased that I thought I would love, but in the end may not have kept. Today’s review is highlighting one of these items.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and these jeans were purchased on my own. While Betabrand is one of my ongoing partners here on the blog, I have been a customer and huge evangelist of their products even before we started collaborating on posts.

With that said… Remember this outfit from October 2016?

Betabrand_travel_jeans
In trying to avoid wearing leggings (or dress pant yoga pants) all the time on travel days, I pre-ordered these Betabrand Travel Jeans back in April of 2016. They were slated to ship a few months later in July, which would’ve been perfect considering that my travels were going to pick up starting in the middle of the Summer. Unfortunately, due to some fabric manufacturing issues, the jeans didn’t arrive until September. No sweat, though! Still lots of flights and road trips to take these jeans on… or so I thought.

I love the way these jeans were intended by design: 2-way stretch, classic 5-pocket design with 2 sets of invisible zippers for extra pocket storage on the front and back– nothing short of what I would want in a perfect pair of jeans for the road! Sadly, my hopes may have been set too high.

Betabrand travel jeans review via thedemuremuse.com (more…)
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