Monday, January 26, 2015

Never be cold again: Woolpower

I've decided enough with being cold here in Toronto. I know there are colder places in Canada, but this city is plenty cold for a native Californian.

So the one thing I really dislike is long underwear, but I've finally come to terms that if I want to be warm while walking outside for over two hours, I need to be completely cocooned in warm wool.

I first noticed Woolpower at Westerlind and thought it looked intriguing. Last week I went to the Canadian Outdoor Equipment store in Mississauga, which has an astonishing range of axes for sale, and spent a bit of time trying on different sizes and styles before settling on a zip turtleneck in green and longies in black. I don't think I've ever worn such warm yet lightweight wool thermals before. The knit is flat on the outside and terry-loop on the insides, which gives it a lofty or spongy feel. For sizing, I went with XS for both top and bottom (normally a size 4-6). The crewneck top seemed to be longer in the torso than the zip-neck, but both styles are plenty long for preventing gaps when moving around. My one complaint is that the long underwear isn't skintight (nor should it be for heat retention), so I have to layer with boyfriend jeans.

Yesterday it was a sunny 22 degrees Fahrenheit. I wore a Uniqlo Heattech tanktop, Woolpower top and longies, Steven Alan cotton overalls in white, Steven Alan flannel reverse seam shirt, Patagonia down vest, and Patagonia Torrentshell in golden amber for wind protection. I also bought Woolpower insoles for my Blundstones, and my feet are heaps warmer. I walked along the rail line on the north side of Toronto and was quite cozy for the hour-long jaunt.

Monday, January 19, 2015

thirty five

I'm thirty five today. I love it when my birthday coincides with the Martin Luther King Jr. observed holiday, even if I'm no longer living in the US.

It's freezing and I'm dressed in plaid flannel and wool linen, but I'm dreaming of Julia's new dress, the Islington in hot pink linen.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Deep Freeze: Woolrich Arctic Parka

I bought a Woolrich Arctic Parka at Due West in early November. January is giving me plenty of opportunities to test it out, and I'm pleased to say that it was worth every penny. I wanted a down-filled parka with a sturdy, water-resistant exterior, and this coat has a Teflon finish that works beautifully. I also wanted lined chest pockets similar to my Barbour Bedale because it's always nice to have pockets for my hands and pockets for my stuff. The length of the Arctic Parka is mid-thigh for me (5'4"), and this is a solid compromise between warmth and mobility. My bum is warm, but I also have the option of hopping on a bicycle or going skating. Finally, I wanted removable fur so I can wash the coat at home. I would say the coat runs true to size. I took a small, which gives me enough room to layer a thick wool sweater underneath. When it's negative 36 Celsius windchill, you definitely need extra layers to supplement the parka.

I also caved in and bought a pair of Blundstones in black. They're a bit clunky, but I find them to be charming. Plus, I don't mind getting them dirty, and slip-on Chelsea boots have really streamlined getting out the door in the mornings.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Thank you for your comments the other day, they really meant a great deal to me.

I picked up this little reminder bracelet by Mai Lin today at a new shop in my neighborhood, Small Goods. Toronto is starting to feel more like home to me. I spent the morning in Kensington Market buying bread, cheese, and salami. We're going to a New Year's Eve skate night at the local rink, and then hiking and dim sum tomorrow morning. I like to start the new year outdoors bright and early, even if it's freezing.

I hope everyone has a joyful beginning to the new year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hold On To Your Friends

Well, the year is nearly over. It seems I've been hiding from everyone lately. There came a point where I just couldn't talk anymore, at least not to my friends. The narrative I would like to construct about my life doesn't have room for my recent thoughts and actions. And so, I went silent. I couldn't bear to tell my friends what was happening because it would somehow make real the sense of failure and feelings of anxiety that seem to have overwhelmed me these past two months. If you've known me for a while, you know that I've been thrown a series of curve balls. Not a single one was impossible to catch, but they kept coming one after another...and I reached my breaking point this fall.

I have a tendency to hide when I feel inundated. Also, at major turning points, I have a tendency to shed my old life altogether. Looking back, I would say that I do this out of sense of embarrassment. I don't want to let my friends and loved ones down, so I run away instead.

Someone recently told me in times of crisis, I need to lean on my friends. To try not to worry about being a disappointment. So here I am, standing in the memory of a dazzlingly bright summer day at the tide pools, feeling anxious about the coming months, unaware of just how far I would move away from my life, for better or for worse. 

Monday, October 13, 2014


I went to Philly the other day to chair a conference session. I also met up with Jennifer F. It's always amazing to find people through blogs who also share similar real-life research interests. We had excellent pho at Viet Huong in South Philly, and then we hopped over to Old City, where I've never been. We checked out the goodies at Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction and found the Black Crane wide culottes in navy on sale at Vagabond. I learned that Sven clogs are more comfortable than No. 6, and that my proper size is 38. I also got a Black Crane wide crew tee in olive. The Stellapop sweaters were ridiculously soft, like snuggling with a dozen angora rabbits.

I'll post photos soon of my new black quilt pants from Mille, which now need to be washed because I wore them so much. They are fantastically comfortable yet look great rolled up with ankle boots. I probably should have stuck with a small because they're too loose in the leg, but I don't mind.

It's official, I'm addicted to Black Crane....