Spring Jackets

Today is the perfect spring day. The sun is shining, the sky is the most brilliant shade of blue, and there is a bit of a chill in the air. But the weather can be a bit unpredictable this time of year, so I won’t be packing away my snow boots and winter coat just yet.

In the meantime,  I’ve been hunting down jackets and coats to get me through the winter to spring transition. Here are 10 jackets I’ve got my eye on this season…

ASOS Skater Mac

ASOS Skater Mac

Free People Open Dolman Jacket

Free People Open Dolman Jacket

cupcakes and cashmere Abria Drape Front Jacket

cupcakes and cashmere Abria Drape Front Jacket

Madewell Fleet Jacket

Madewell Fleet Jacket

Mango Crop Biker Jacket

Mango Crop Biker Jacket

Lovers and Friends Morning View Coat

Lovers + Friends Morning View Coat

Mango Waterfall Jacket

Mango Waterfall Jacket

Jack by BB Dakota Marilou Suede Moto Jacket

Jack by BB Dakota Marilou Faux Suede Moto Jacket

Mango Adjustable cord parka

Mango Adjustable Cord Parka

Jack by BB Dakota Cayenne Jacket

Jack by BB Dakota Cayenne Jacket

Which one is your favourite?

Spring Reads 2015

When spring rolls around and we’re blessed with long, sunny days, I suddenly start craving light, fun reads. I gravitate towards books I can race through in just a few days. This season’s picks include: a mouth-watering memoir, a ballet-themed novel I’ve been meaning to read for over a year, a travel memoir from my new favourite author, a critically-acclaimed short story collection, and a murder mystery translated from the Spanish. sous chefSous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line by Michael Gibney  

In this deliciously crafted memoir, chef Michael Gibney gives us a no-holds-barred account of 24 hours in the life of a sous chef in an upscale New York restaurant kitchen.

Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review saying, “Gibney is as skilled with words as he is with his 11-inch Sujihiki knife.”

Why I picked it: I devoured the first chapter in the bookstore.  four seasons in romeFour Seasons in Rome: a memoir by Anthony Doerr

In his memoir published in 2006, Doerr finds out he won the prestigious Rome Prize on the same day his wife gave birth to twins. The prize included a year in Rome complete with an apartment, a writing studio and a stipend. Doerr takes us along on his adventures — leaving behind the comforts of home and moving his family to the Eternal city, reading Pliny and Dante, and raising twin boys in an unfamiliar place.

Bookreporter.com on the author, “He describes characters on the street so vividly that we can believe we’ve met them ourselves, and he does it all with such humility that it is as if we were having a conversation with the guy next door.”

Why I picked it: I fell in love with Doerr’s gorgeous language in All the Light We Cannot See this past winter and now I want to read everything he has ever written. astonish-meAstonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

The author of the widely popular debut novel Seating Arrangements spins us into the beautiful, demanding, mysterious and often dark world of professional ballet. This story stars Joan, a young American dancer who helps Soviet ballet star, Aslan Rusakov, defect in 1975. A love affair ensues, but Joan knows that, onstage and off, she is destined to remain in the background. Abandoning all hopes of becoming a prima ballerina, Joan hangs up her pointe shoes, marries a good man and settles down in the suburbs of California with him and their son, Harry.

Booklist gave it a starred review, calling it, “A supple, daring, and vivid portrait of desire and betrayal.”

Why I picked it: I’ve been meaning to read this one for over a year now. I picked it for its ballet theme.

Where They Found HerWhere They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

In her highly-anticipated new thriller, McCreight transports us to the affluent suburban town of Ridgedale, New Jersey where a dead newborn baby is found in the woods near the town’s prestigious university campus. A gripping story of intersecting lives, the power of buried secrets and the past coming to light.

Library Journal says, “This tightly spun sophomore effort will please fans of Amelia. McCreight has a keen grasp of the epistolary technique and is adept at providing readers the puzzle pieces they need to build a broader picture.”

Why I picked it: I’ve been raving to everyone about Reconstructing Amelia which I devoured back in December. So I was over the moon when I found out that McCreight had a brand new novel due out this month.

A man called oveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

In his bestselling debut novel, Swedish blogger and author Fredrik Backman tells the story of a cranky yet loveable old man who’s peaceful world is flipped upside down when a boisterous young family moves in next door. A hilarious, feel-good tale of love and community.

Shelf Awareness gave it a starred review, saying, “A Man Called Ove is exquisite. The lyrical language is the confetti thrown liberally throughout this celebration-of-life story, adding sparkle and color to an already spectacular party.”

Why I picked it: It was on the staff picks table at my bookstore. My Brilliant FriendMy Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Set in the 1950s, the first of Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels introduces us to Elena and Lila. Growing up on the tough streets of a poor, vibrant neighbourhood in Naples, the girls come to depend on one another before anyone or anything else.

The Times Literary Supplement describes it as, “Stunning. An intense, forensic exploration of the friendship between Lila and the story’s narrator, Elena . . . Cinematic in the density of its detail.”

Why I picked it: Italy, Italy, Italy. redeploymentRedeployment by Phil Klay

I am making good on my promise to read more short stories this year. In this collection of twelve short stories, ex-Marine Phil Klay drops the Iraq and Afghanistan wars squarely in our laps. He takes us to the frontlines and shows us what happened to the soldiers when they returned home.

The New Yorker’s George Packer calls it, “The best literary work thus far written by a veteran of America’s recent wars.”

Why I picked it: I read one of Klay’s short stories online and it sealed the deal for me. asylumThe Asylum: True Tales of Madness from a Life in Fashion by Simon Doonan

With more than twenty years of industry experience under his stylish belt, no one is better equipped than Doonan to give us the scoop on the fashion world. In his hilarious collection of autobiographical essays, the creative ambassador of Barneys New York has witnessed models unable to work for fear of ghosts and watched Anna Wintour remain perfectly calm while the ceiling fell-literally-in the middle of Fashion Week.

Leandra Medine, blogger of The Man Repeller raves, “In The Asylum, Simon Doonan’s comedic genius explodes out of highbrow shoe boxes.”

Why I picked it: Fashion, psychology and giggles all rolled into one. Enough said.The InfatuationsThe Infatuations by Javier Marias

This will be my first novel by the world-renowned Spanish author. In this murder mystery/love story, Maria stops off at the same café every morning. So does the married couple she observes during her visits. She envies their seemingly perfect life until one day, the husband ends up dead. Maria approaches the grieving widow, offers her condolences and finds herself sucked into the murder mystery.

Los Angeles Review of Books raves, “Marías’s novel weaves an intricate web, but its triumph is in the power of its narrator. Marías has found the ideal voice—detached, inquisitive, and vigilant—for one of his finest novels.”

Why I picked it: The cover hooked me and the opening line reeled me in. Queen SugarQueen Sugar: A Novel by Natalie Baszile

In her debut novel, Baszile follows the story of Charley Bordelon, a young African-American widow and single mother who gives up her life in Los Angeles and moves to Louisiana to run her inherited sugarcane plantation. A heartfelt tale of family, community, courage and resilience.

O Magazine has this to say about this debut, “In Queen Sugar, two bulwarks of American literature—Southern fiction and the transformational journey—are given a fresh take by talented first time novelist Natalie Baszile . . .”

Why I picked it: Stories that warm the heart get me every single time. they left us everythingThey Left Us Everything by Plum Johnson

In this humorous and touching family memoir, Johnson and her three brothers experience mixed feelings when their ninety-three-year-old mother dies. Left with the task of selling their Lake Ontario home, the siblings set to work sifting through the contents of its twenty-three rooms. The exercise stirs up childhood memories, reveals new facts about their parents and shows them who they were and what they valued.

Earlier this month, the 68-year-old author was awarded the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize for this captivating debut.

Why I picked it: It came highly recommended by the manager at Indigo bookstore. boundariesBoundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

Inspirational speakers and psychologists Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend share their wisdom on the God-given gift of boundaries. They look at boundaries from a biblical standpoint and show us how to go about setting healthy boundaries with the people in our lives.

Howard G. Hendricks, Chairman, Center for Christian Leadership says, “Boundaries is the ‘Untold Story’ – the other side of love and servanthood that we need so desperately but that we hear so little about.”

Why I picked it: I often say ‘yes’ when I should say ‘no’.

Do your reading preferences change with the seasons? What’s on your reading list this spring?

Floral fun

“Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.” – Miranda Priestly, The Devil Wears Prada

Miranda Priestly would shake her head disapprovingly at my love for all things floral.

But I can’t help it.

Flowers bring a smile to my face and put a spring in my step. Instead of the traditional sundress covered in floral print, it’s time to think outside the (window) box this season and find other ways of satisfying our floral cravings.

Floral prints don’t have to be all girly and sweet; try mixing it with other patterns for a bit of edge. Here’s a roundup of traditional and not-so-traditional ways of wearing the pretty print…

watercolor blazer

 watercolour floral blazer + tee + shorts via Wendy’s Lookbook

floral bomber jacket

 floral organza bomber jacket + distressed super skinny jeans via Wendy’s Lookbook

floral shorts with bright orange top

floral shorts + bright orange top via Wendy’s Lookbook

spring like

floral blazer + statement tee + skinny jeans via Gal Meets Glam

floral print skirt

 floral skirt + leather jacket + printed tee via Gal Meets Glam

striped blazer + floral dress

 floral dress + striped blazer via A House in the Hills

floral bomber jacket with skort

floral bomber jacket + crop top + skort via Sirma Markova

floral + gingham

floral skirt + gingham pumps via Atlantic-Pacific

floral pants and oxfords

floral pants + denim hooded vest + silver oxfords via What the Chung?

floral romper

floral romper + stilettos via Walk in Wonderland

daisies

 daisy print blazer and shorts + striped shirt via Tuula

floral top embellished shorts

 floral blouse + embellished shorts via Song of Style

floral tailored suit

matching floral bustier and trousers + white heels via The Chriselle Factor

floral shirt dressfloral print shirt dress via Sincerely Jules

floral bomber 1

 floral bomber + plain tee + distressed skinny jeans via Song of Style

Which look is your favourite?

I really need a floral bomber jacket or blazer in my life.

Say it right

Statement sweatshirts and tees are here to stay and I couldn’t be happier.

With statement tees, styling possibilities abound. If you’re looking to get dressed up, why not wear your statement tee with a tea length skirt and heels. If you’re going for a more casual vibe, you can pair a statement sweatshirt with your favourite skinny jeans.

But my all-time favourite combo: the statement tee with a blazer, leather shorts and heels. It’s the perfect mix of casual and glam.

I just love the idea of letting your clothes do the talking, don’t you? Here’s a roundup of looks that speak volumes…

bonjour sweter

 statement sweater + leather mini skirt via Wendy’s Lookbook

statement tee wendy

 statement sweatshirt + moto jacket + croc embossed mini via Wendy’s Lookbook

take me to paris

statement tee + leopard coat + leather pants via Gal Meets Glam

statement tee + full skirt

 statement tee +  tea length skirt + statement necklace + pumps via Gal Meets Glam

do epic chic

statement sweatshirt + faux leather skirt + leopard pumps via Eat Sleep Wear

statement blair

statement sweatshirt + gingham skirt via Atlantic-Pacific

Celfie tee + red blazer

 statement tee + red blazer + ripped denim + heels via What the Chung?

celfie tee 2

statement tee + blazer + skinny jeans + over-the-knee boots via Brooklyn Blonde

hashtag

statement tee + full skirt + lace pumps via Walk in Wonderland

statement tee + jeans

statement baseball tee + skinny jeans + bold satchel + striped loafers via Pink Peonies

I woke up like this

statement tee + ostrich feather cardigan + skinny jeans via The Blonde Salad

camo pants and stmt tee

statement tee + camo skinny jeans + boots via Pink Peonies

aimee song statement tee

 statement tee + camo jacket + leather pants + spike pumps via Song of Style

sincerely jules respect tee

 statement tee +  blazer + distressed denim cut-offs + converses via Sincerely Jules

sincerely jules statement look

statement tee + sequin skirt + baseball cap + sneakers via Sincerely Jules

feline meow

statement sweatshirt + bomber jacket + acid wash skinny jeans via Collage Vintage

magnifique tee

statement tee + tweed boyfriend coat + vintage levis skirt +  loafers via Sincerely Jules

sporty chic look

statement tee + blazer + pleated shorts + studded heels via Sincerely Jules

What’s your favourite statement-making combo?

Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

macaronsHappy weekend, all. Spring is definitely in the air, so get outside and make the best of it. Never mind that it’s -2 celcius in Toronto today. We’ll take it! Hope you have a memorable first weekend of spring.

If you’re curling up on the couch this weekend, here’s a roundup of weekend reads to keep you company…

+ Tech news: Avoid awkward encounters with this new app!

+ This one is for the New Yorkers out there.

+ This is Glamorous got a brand new, shiny look and I’m loving it.

+ Love this guy even more now. So inspiring…

+ On the wishlist: This makes the perfect cup of tea every time.

+ Madonna has a new skincare line.

+ Coconut porridge. Sounds so delicious and it’s good for you.

+ Love this relaxed look for spring.

+ The coolest bomber jacket.

+ These insider tips on how to spot a fake handbag are sure to come in handy.

+ Good news: Self-cleaning subway strap protects against gross germs!

+ Blinged-out bandanas and dance skills like no other. If you’ve got time, watch the coolest concert I’ve ever attended. (I was lucky enough to see these guys in Ft. Lauderdale!)

+ And this song still makes me wanna dance even after all these years.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

(Photo from 100 Layer Cake-let)