A few of my favourite things

We all have some old favourites, things that we refuse to part with, things that make us feel good, make us feel cool. Here are a few of my favourite things. Most of these things I have had for about 20 years, pieces so unique, or so cool, that I keep going back to them.

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These slingback spectator shoes from the 60s are just way too much fun. I like to wear them with a simple black dress, or something in a 60’s A-line. Cigarette pants also do the trick.

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The necklace, also from the 60s, is massive! I found this wonderful piece when I was living and working in Helsinki in the early ’90s. It is so huge, so heavy, so tacky, and so unique, that it is absolutely one of my favourite necklaces. Go big or go home! It is such a statement piece, that it really makes the outfit; whatever you are wearing is merely a backdrop for this stunning necklace.

 

 

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This cardigan, which woefully has seen better days, is dyed camel hair, the sleeves are wool with leather trim.  This is so fun and funky. Awesome with just a t-shirt and jeans. It is the grandpa sweater gone bad, not for the timid. I think I got this at the long-gone Vancouver vintage store, Cool Stuff, also probably 20+years ago. Great store; the owner relocated to Edmonton many years ago.

 

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I love this jacket so much, but this photo really doesn’t do it justice. To me, it just screams Rock ‘n Roll! And it probably literally does- I have worn this jacket to countless punk and rock shows, ever since I picked it up when I was working at True Value Vintage in the mid ’90s. (God, I’m old) It’s tight and sexy and it’s red leather! What else do you want? Or need, for that matter. Every girl should have a red leather jacket! I’m just waiting until I can get the zipper on it done up again. Either that, or my daughter will inherit it one day. But honestly, I’d rather wear it myself.

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Wonderful vintage tooled leather from C’est La Vie in Vancouver.

This gorgeous vintage tooled leather bag is one of my new favourite things. I recently acquired it at a great vintage store on Main Street in Vancouver called C’est la Vie. I was ecstatic when I found it, because I had been looking for a nice black tooled bag for quite some time. It’s the perfect size for everyday use; not just for going out to shows. I’m sure I will use this for years, until it falls apart.

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Lastly, my trusty Dayton boots. I bought these in the mid-90’s when I returned from living in Finland. God, they were expensive, but obviously worth it. This is a fine example of investing in a quality item. These boots have been to countless gigs, twice as many as the red jacket! They were so stiff when I got them, they took a good 6 months to break in. But hey, you need good footwear in the mosh pit! When I got them, I never dreamt I would actually get to use them as motorcycle boots, but now I am. For a solid 10 years, I wore nothing but these boots. I took a few years off after babies, because I didn’t have time to do all the laces, and they were snug from my enlarged feet. But I am wearing them again, along with my 4 other pairs. My husband has a few pairs that he has also been wearing for many years; they are the most bad-ass motorcycle boots out there. Jeez, I should be a spokesperson for Daytons.

Looking back through all these pieces, they would actually make a pretty great outfit, just throw on some jeans!

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I’m a woman, and it’s my day

 

Happy International Women’s Day to all of you women out there, and all of you that love and respect women. What does it mean to me to be a woman? Or, more simply, who am I? At the most basic level, I am I guess a mature woman. (Do I even like that term? Not too sure). I’m a wife. I’m an ex-wife. I’m a mother to 2 children. I’m a sister, a daughter, an aunt. A pain in the ass to some, I’m sure. Am I my labels, or am I more than that? So many questions, and I guess all these questions reflect where I’ve been this past year or so, and where I’m heading, or where I’d like to be heading.

I’d like to be heading to a place where I feel confident, happy, successful, empowered. Do I feel like that? Not near as often as I would like. Like most women, I’ve gone through some tough times. Nasty divorce, job losses, heartbreaks with my children. How do I go about changing that? I’ve been working quite hard lately looking for answers, especially after a particularly nasty year last year. I don’t ever want to feel as broken as I did then. I guess this is partly why I started this blog, to be doing something purely for myself, taking control of my life. Having something nobody can take away from me, or destroy.

I’ve been really enjoying all the body-positivity out there. It’s so sad that in this day and age we supposedly even need such a thing, but we do. Getting older, with my body and face changing, this is definitely something I struggle with from time to time. It is so contradictory-on the one hand, as you age, you get more confident, and give few or no f*cks what other people think. Then on the other hand, you become your own worst critic, because you’re not the hot 20 or 30-year old you once were, or wish you had been. Or even worse, maybe you were hot, but were so lacking in self-confidence in the ignorance of youth, that you never got to properly enjoy your youth and beauty.  That is a real tragedy.

As women, it’s so important that we keep supporting each other, and I think, more important, ourselves. We’ve got to be our own biggest fans. Do whatever it takes to make you feel good about yourself. Start a blog, learn to ride a motorcycle, wear that sexy dress, do that thing that you always wanted to do that you never had the balls to do, and bullocks what anybody else thinks! So I guess to me, being a woman, is a mishmash of things. I am a contradiction. I am strong, sometimes not. I’m old, but still that young girl at heart. I love my body, and sometimes I hate it. Somedays I feel like I can conquer the world, and other days I don’t want to leave the house. I’m trying to embrace all of those things, because that’s who I am. So go out there, be a woman, love your sisters, love your daughters, teach them to be badass. Love yourself, as best as you can. Hopefully it’s a wee bit more every day. xoxo

 

 

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It’s a Rock ‘n Roll weekend

This weekend I was tagging along on a wee bit of a tour with my husband’s band, The Real McKenzies. I joined him in Victoria, BC, and again the next day in hometown Vancouver. The forecast called for cold and wet (surprise!) so I opted for this incredibly cool leather coat that I haven’t worn nearly enough. Paul acquired it for me in Europe- it is a WWII German police officer’s coat. It’s really heavy, and warm. It was just the thing for the ferry crossing to Victoria, and it doesn’t get much more rock ‘n roll than head-to-toe leather!

There is very little thrifty about this posting; the coat was about $350, but I’m sure it will keep its value, and man will it ever be great on my motorbike. This totally reminds of the creepy character Willem Dafoe plays in The Grand Budapest Hotel; this is exactly the coat he would wear. Dayton Boots are a beautiful thing. This company has been around making hand-made boots since 1946. They started out with men’s work boots, and later added motorcycle boots. They start at about $500, but are worth every penny, because  these boots will probably last for decades; my first pair is over 20 years old, and still look and feel great.  Paul had me order these exorbitant tall, zippered, custom motorcycle boots, and he claims that I will be buried in them. For the amount of money I paid for them, I sure hope so! And you gotta have good sturdy boots when you’re in the mosh pit.

My husband is quite the shopper too. Somewhere while touring in the US, he bought me this black Panama Jack hat. I kind of scratched my head dubiously when I first saw it, but then quickly realized that he sometimes knows me better than I know myself. I pretty much always wear this hat when I travel, and of course it is great in the rain. 99% of the time I can’t be bothered with umbrellas, so a great hat is the way to go. I love every item in this outfit, they are all really special. But I hold an especially warm place in my heart for this ancient McKenzie pladdie, which was given to Paul a few years ago. It is also great for travelling; it’s a scarf, it’s a wrap, it’s a blanket, and can even be a sarong in a pinch.

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I find the pladdie always just makes the outfit. So elegant.

Whenever I go to a McKenzie’s show, I always always wear the pladdie, for obvious reasons! It’s the family colours after all, it is just such a cool and beautiful thing to wear, and I’m honoured that Paul always lets me wear it. It is truly the linch pin of my rock n’ roll outfit, and I wear it with pride. Speaking of pride, I always wear my Finnish Kalevala jewelry too, because I want to fly my flag as well as Paul’s; besides, the Finnish and Scottish flags rock the same colours! This stuff is also not inexpensive. The long necklace I acquired 20 years ago while living in Finland; I believe it was worth several hundred dollars, but this too I treasure.

The vegan leather miniskirt I bought at H&M when they first opened in Vancouver. It’s a great travel skirt, with 3 deep zippered pockets. The shimmery navy leather top is by Danier, another recent favourite from Value Village, because for 15 bucks, it is sexy and slimming! The leather pouch I purchased at a now-closed store on Commercial Drive in Vancouver called Rabbit and Empee. I spotted one very similar on a female musician during another tour, and had to have one. It’s like a belt, and a fanny pack, but way cooler! It will keep your money and passport safe, has a spot for your cell phone and cash, and another wee pocket for your earplugs and lipstick. The perfect touring hands-free purse. I like to complete my show-day outfit with a hat. Sometimes it’s my bonnie blue bonnet, on this occasion I opted for this wee tam. It is actually McLaren tartan, but close enough to McKenzie that I thought I could get away with it.

So there you have it folks! Extremely traditional, combined with a modern punk rock aesthetic!

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The McKenzie colours vibrate!
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My Kalevala jewelry
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Thistle pin, purchased in a thrift store
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Cooler than a fanny pack
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It’s a family affair
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Paul is wearing his beautiful, custom made McKenzie kilt with a horsehair sporran from the 1930’s, Dayton motorcycle boots, traditional kilt belt, socks, and flashes.

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