Sun, Sea and Sculpture

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Frank ‘n company. Hanging out at Maffeo Sutton Park in Nanaimo, Vancouver Island. A bronze statue of former Nanaimo Mayor, Frank Ney in his alter ego persona of “Black Frank” the pirate.

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Maffeo Sutton Park is located right on the city’s water front. To the left is a glimpse of Newcastle Island. On right is Protection Island. It’s clear to see why Nanaimo is called the “Harbor City”!


There’s lots to see and do from smelling the roses, to checking out incredible art sculptures positioned throughout the park.

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For a casual glam look, I’m wearing a classic jean jacket from Suzy Shier. Copper buttons add distinction and visually connect with this delightful rusted metal sculpture.

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Getting cozy with a crustacean wearing a red pencil skirt with navy floral tank top. Top, Ardene. Skirt from Suzy Shier.


Harbor viewing always fascinates.

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From seaplanes to ferries, yachts to kayaks, vibrant activity is all around.

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Not to mention sailboats of all sorts. Pontoon planes are a common and practical way reach the mainland, glimpsed here in a series of majestic mountains.

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Back to art. Actually the entire waterfront is designed as an interactive tidal sculpture. As the ocean recedes, man made pools are revealed. Great for checking out various creatures that call these shallow basins, home.

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Nanaimo’s famous Barred Owl. Wonderful wire sculpture shows off the banding that gives this owl species it’s name. Mousie crouches in peril!


Another fascinating art statement is “Hungry Bunny” by local artist, Dale Schulz.


The popular piece brings the ‘hammer’ down on roaming rabbits.


Oceanspray and sandstone. Nature’s art at the park.

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Rose for a rose. Nootka roses bloom on bluffs by the sea, as well as on a pretty top for me! Photos by Bob Tobin.


Hunting the Wild Lotus Pinnatus

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It’s June. I’ve been hunting the elusive Lotus pinnatus for months now. Today is gold…and white, as the pretty bi-toned flowers are finally spotted.

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What to wear for a ramble on Nanaimo’s famous Harewood Plains? Be casually romantic in destroyed jeans and rosy lace top from Urban Planet. Soft blue cashmere sweater sourced from Value Village.

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Lotus Pinatus Park is gloriously windswept and dotted with a treasure trove of wildflowers.

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Sitting pretty amid rock sculptures on the plains.

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Flowers are everywhere. Here Nodding Onions and Fool’s Onion team together in summery lavender and white.

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When flower hunting, go with it in flower embellished denim like these destroyed jeans from Urban Planet.

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Love this romantic lace top with velvet ribbon trim to team with jeans. Another great find from Urban Planet.

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OMG! Flower of the hour Lotus pinnatus or Bog Bird’s Foot Trefoil, growing en masse.

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Had some friends come by to check out the excitement too!

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Three bucks in the ‘hood simply add to the amazing experience of strolling through the park.

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Lotus Pinnatus Park is located on Harewood Plains in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, BC Canada.

A Winter’s Journey


This winter has been unusually cold for Vancouver Island. Sub-zero temperatures have turned ordinary vistas to fantasies of ice crystal magic.


Let’s start out on Jinglepot Road. I’m dressed for a winter woodland ramble wearing soft shades of pink, lavender and orchid knits. They’re complimented by a three quarter length coat in nubby black and white boucle, ornamented with pearl buttons.


Snowy vistas create their own colour harmony. I find cold season light takes on a bluish tinge which compliments cool colours beautifully. Like this soft baby pink tam in angora wool.


Enhance your rosy glow with a touch of mauve blush and finish with rosy lipstick. Blue-grey shadow deepens blue tones in eye colour.


My stroll took me into Morrell Nature Sanctuary and up Rocky Knoll for one of the best mountain views in Nanaimo.


Making it to the top is definitely an achievement! Thank goodness for this conveniently place bench.

Snow ready boots in charcoal leather with good sole grip are stylish enough for city streets, as well as taking on back country.


The lacing gives boots a sure slip free  fit, important when traveling rough terrain. Other accessories include warm winter gloves in burgundy from Ardene. Slim fit jeans sourced from Value Village.


The scenery is utterly amazing, truly winter transformed.


A bejewelled winter landscape calls for a touch of elegant personal adornment.


Filigree silver pendant with pearl dogwood flower and faceted pink drop, peeks out from lilac cardigan.


Lots of dramatic sights to take in. This tree has split right in half. Wow!


A friendly crow is my walking companion. Look at him gobbling snow!


At the top of Rocky Knoll the air already seems warmer. Winter on the island is ephemeral. In just days, everything changes. Keep watch. Soon there’ll be hints of reawakening land.



All Hallows Weekend – An Autumn Walk


Oak leaves turn shades of russet at Neck Point Park in Nanaimo. All the great photos are taken by Bob Tobin.


Dodging rain showers for an invigorating walk to celebrate the season.


Pumpkin orange tunic dress by Suzy Shier is snuggled up to a statement April Cornell sweater sourced from Value Village.


Rich autumnal colours are echoed in a striped alpaca scarf from in Peru.


Exotic Arbutus trees with signature cinnamon hued bark, are loaded down with brilliant orange berries. Perfect accent to showcase fiery Fall!


My favorite! Wonderful leather belt with antique brass leaf buckle.


Horsey ‘n me and heaps of golden leaves.


Pulling the Autumn season look together with these tan leather ankle boots, another find from Value Village Nanaimo.


The iconic Big Leaf Maple! “My wealth lies not in coin, but in fields of gold abounding.” Darragh Worledge





Not so Basic Black Dress


I’m still into that edgy vibe for pumping up excitement in our fall wardrobes. Here’s a manikin perfect, one bare shoulder style, very not basic black dress!


Yes we have fringe accent! Team this fabulous dress with black leather jacket for a tough meets siren look.


Fringe accents up one arm and down the side of this asymmetrical dress from Ardene. Vintage rhinestone starburst pin picks up sparkly shoe embellishment.


I love rhinestone pins! This one is especially lovely with warm highlights in the sparkle.


Check out these heels! Sitting pretty in early autumn sun.


One of the really fun things about exploring nook and cranny shops is finding hidden treasures like these black patent shoes with their statement heel design. Shoes from Vancouver Island Thrift Store.


“Let’s see the boats,” says Bob. Ummm…walking down that metal ramp in these shoes…I need a break! dsc00645-2

So where are we heading off to? #nanaimowaterfront.


All dressed up and ready to take in the sights #downtownnanaimo.



Autumn’s Edge


The last day of September. We’re heading into October at a rapid clip. To me this month always means pumpkins, corn fields and the first glittering glimpse of frost rimmed grass to come. There’s a decided coolness in the wind right now. Evenings drop down to double sweater or add a jacket for comfort, temperatures.


One way to transition summer wear into cooler temperatures is by layering a pair of tights under whatever we’ve chosen to wear. In this case, rip and repair walking shorts add an edgy vibe to this classic outfit of black vegan leather jacket and white lace emeblished top. The jacket is a personal favorite. It’s also featured in Vintage Value post.



Here’s a closeup of the intricate lace detailing on the top. Textures of smooth leather and rough lace contrast well, adding excitement to the ensemble. Black and white are also picked up in the shorts, strengthening overall colour harmony. Both the top and shorts are from Ardene.


I’ve added over the leather bomber, a fabulous Value Village find. Right off the men’s rack, a patchwork wool blazer with traditional tailoring. Throw on this second jacket for a little more warmth, plus a whole lot of street savvy vibe. Here’s a tip…those men’s jackets have large shoulder pads that can give you a ‘football player’ look. Simply open up the inside lining shoulder seam, and remove the pads.


Bundle on a contrasting scarf for even more warmth and visual excitement. Other accessories include an Italian leather belt in black, men’s wear again and great suede pumps with a chunky heel. The shoes are Hush Puppies. Very comfortable as well as a feminine alternative to a boot.


Add a gorgeous purse in olive leather to complete the perfect outfit for ‘tween season rambles. I tend to gravitate towards purses enriched with some colour. In this case, the olive tone really enhances random patches on the out sized jacket. Leather purses can be harder to find these days, especially at an affordable price. This hobo style is a perfect size. It was discovered at Salvation Army Thrift Store in Nanaimo.


All photos are by my good friend Bob Tobin. Check back for installment #2 of how to add some edgy impact to your autumn wardrobe.


Vintage Value


“Shopping vintage” is a glamorous way of referring to old fashioned thrift shop bargain hunting. These days second hand clothing stores are not necessarily the most cost effective places to buy wardrobe staples like tee shirts or jeans. To be a savvy shopper look through thrift stores’ vast and diverse array of merchandise for unique and unusual items.


Like this fabulous hand made raku pottery cat face pendant with perfect, adorable tiny mouse. I found this gem at Value Village in Nanaimo, along with the copper washed jeans and Italian wool sweater. Jacket is Suzie Shier.


A perfect outfit for garden rambling, as September weather turns a bit cooler. Lovely zinnias are still eye catching! Another jacket option is a classic leather bomber like this one below.


Here I am with canine friend hanging out at Colliery Dam Park. Black vegan leather jacket was found at Value Village along with a completely beautiful printed silk scarf.


Luxury fabrics like pure silk are hard to find new these days. dsc00340-4

When shopping thrift stores I always look for silk, wool especially 100% cashmere, good quality leather items like belts and unusual, often hand crafted jewelry.


Pug strikes a pose! Taking a break lounging in some late summer sun. My little buddy looks debonair in his snappy red coat. I’m wearing charcoal capris jeggings and white tank  from RW&CO.


Plum Pretty


Plum is a great AUTUMN colour. Brings to mind harvesting fruit and savory aromas as damson jam bubbles on the stove. Beautiful Granny Falls provides a scenic backdrop for PLUM maxi skirt and rose embellished cold shoulder sweatshirt from Ardene.


Checking out a wooden foot bridge at Colliery Dam Park in Nanaimo.


Sweatshirt hoodie adds a layer of warmth.


Looking haute in plum skirt layered with garnet and grey tank tops.


Hand crafted ceramic beads have painted rose decoration. Vintage find from Value Village.


Hoodie comes in handy in a rain forest!


Sampling few late season blackberries.


September sunflowers add a patch of GLOWING brilliance to brighten the walk home.

Sea and Stars – Navigating Newcastle


It all started with a fabulous SILVER STARFISH NECKLACE found at Vancouver Island Thrift Store in Nanaimo. “Let’s go find some real starfish” I said to my friend Bob, the amazing photographer who takes these pictures. We headed off across the harbor to Newcastle Island pictured in the background above. I brought along SEVEN KEY PIECES of clothing to wear in multiple ways. From pioneers to present day, Nanaimoites have always been a THRIFTY lot. Embarking on our journey I’m wearing a mint flyaway cardigan layered over patterned top, black tank and blue wash jeggings. A bird patterned punchy mint scarf adds a WOW factor.


Here’s the incredible STARFISH NECKLACE worn with the black tank and a black and white plaid shirt. The capsule wardrobe consists of blue wash jeggings, mint flyaway cardigan, black tank top, plaid shirt, grey and black knit dress, print top and mint coloured bird print scarf.


Pretty print top in black and mint topped by flyaway cardigan. All seven clothing pieces were found at Ardene, North Town Center for 70% off.


Rockin’ the wonderful sea carved sandstone rocks on Newcastle Island in plaid shirt worn as a light weight jacket over patterned top and jeggings.


Found a STARFISH! Patterned top layered over black tank.


Newcastle Island WELCOME TOTEM POLE sign. I’m hiding the grey and black striped knit dress piece under plaid shirt and mint scarf.


Here’s the knit piece worn as a DRESS instead of long SWEATER.


Tramping through an old quarry looking for a historic pillar rescued from the ocean, that Bob especially wants to see. Jeggings with plaid shirt and starfish necklace strike a casual glam note.


FOUND THE PILLAR! Black tank adds yet another look to plaid shirt. This version is untucked and casually tied.


Layering on mint flyaway cardigan adds some extra warmth while exploring burled trees during a light rain shower.


Taking refuge from errant showers in the gazebo at Newcastle Island. MIXING PATTERNS adds EXCITEMENT to neutral tones.


Home again and looking great at MAFFEO SUTTON PARK in Nanaimo. That’s Newcastle Island in the distance. FINALLY, about all the MISSING STARFISH…supposedly there’s been some sort of pathogen causing havoc up and down the West Coast. HOWEVER here’s another suspect…


Be a Bold Beauty


We’re perfectly happy lounging around in a khaki onesie when across the store comes a siren call from THE DRESS. Outrageously bold and totally not ‘us’. Or is it? With fashion choices why not dump old thinking and dare something different.


Going for bold means learning a few new things, so let’s get some higher sartorial education at scenic VIU Nanaimo.


First lesson is OWN YOUR LOOK. Yes, you look fabulous, and yes you are going to get admiring glances. It’s all about attitude and breaking free from preconceived notions.


Second lesson is BALANCE THE BOLD. Add a touch more makeup even if like me, you mostly walk around au naturale.


ACCESSORIES make a statement too, like this great vintage brooch and seriously glam shoes.


Actually you might find accessories in surprising places. After all, the world’s your stage…


So there you have it. Here’s to a beautiful bold new look. Thank you Vancouver Island University for FASHION 101!