For those hot and sticky July days…

Cream Tall Maxi Skirt

My latest creative venture/distraction from the past couple of very cold months. Feels like sheer heaven over my skin. I simply cannot wait for the summer heat to weigh heavily in the air. Clearly, it does not take too much to leave me feeling all giddy and satisfied…

Sneak peak to all my lovely followers 😉 Will be ready for sale in a very short time.

But don’t worry, you will certainly be the first to know! What do you think?!

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Experience trumps youth every time

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As I was perched in a very precarious position on an ancient, rusted and very wobbly ladder this weekend, I couldn’t help BUT eavesdrop on the other designers in my favourite warehouse as they were making their fabric selections, discussing their design plans, and attempting to convince each other that there is a viable market for a $200 cotton crop top “as long as it were really well constructed”…

Their silent rationalization and head-nodding to that statement was absolutely deafening.

How did I get here again?!

Suddenly, and feeling as though I had been somehow caught in the act, my breath of fresh air appeared from below to assess my rather odd position (no doubt in an attempt to get away from this strange group) and communicated his lack of patience with the fashion students through a very obvious eye roll. As he helped me down from the unstable pile of bolts that I somehow managed to find myself on yet again, I breathed a huge sigh of relief as my feet were planted firmly back on the ground – both literally and figuratively – simply because of his presence.

“What have you hidden for me today?” I asked him sweetly (score 1 point here for experience) and his eyes lit up with excitement as he whisked me off to show me the best of the best tucked away only for his favourite clients (N.B. I am not THAT naive to think that I am his only one). And despite his previous display of impatience, he is a man who clearly adores his work. I appreciate his candour. His no-nonsense approach. And most recently, our apparent bonding over blatant ageism…

It got me thinking. Despite our rather obvious difference in age (their grunge attire is reminiscent of my own youth when it was popular the first time around circa 1991), I am really no different from these young students – for they are testing their skills and limits just as I am. Yet for some reason, I still feel like I am out-of-place amongst this uber-trendy, hat-wearing crowd as they make their selections for end of semester projects. No, I do not know how to put together a coherent croquis for my professors or potential buyers. I cannot make a dress in an hour to fill a last-minute space missing in my runway show for finals. Nor do I seem to have a backpack-carrying entourage to accompany me on these strangely comforting sourcing trips…

But we do both seek to express our ideas through the same medium. We follow the same steps and framework. My path for getting here may have been very different and not as direct as theirs but here we are, both in the exact same space, trying to solve the exact same problems, faced with the exact same barriers.

“OMG – where did you find that?!” she squealed with a mix of adolescence, competition and envy as my purchases were being tabulated. And I matched her interest, excitement and obvious hand gestures perfectly and with utter ease, all while secretly thanking him with only my eyes.

Maybe we really aren’t all that different after all…

Letter writing is a dying art form

Dear Jane,

Thank you for the lovely wishes – you are in my thoughts more often than you think 🙂 I am starting early with my birthday celebrations by enjoying a glass of wine, snuggled on my couch with my boy, watching the Olympics. While I am certainly NOT happy about getting any older…I think I’m pretty lucky to be exactly where I am sitting right now 🙂

It’s been awhile since you have had an update – seems like time is passing faster than I would like… After the article was published in the Saturday Style section of the Citizen, I’ve had several more sales but more importantly, some amazing words of encouragement from total strangers. They have given me the confidence to continue – and that is exactly what I am going to do 🙂 In March, I will be starting to develop a long, flowy, silk chiffon maxi skirt for tall women – think light fabric just billowing in the wind as she/I walk by! Very excited! But as usual, I’ve needed to teach myself (yet again) on how to construct it (I can’t seem to let things go undiscovered) and so this became my #1 goal after New Year’s Day.

After (some) trial and error, I have finished my best version yet this past weekend! I’m thrilled because not only is the fabric is a little unusual but the actual construction is straight and strong – and I am so excited to wear it! Now, I have no illusions here – I still need to have them professionally constructed for the business ( I’m not exactly that quick…) but I have a good template to work with now and I know exactly what I want.

As for my writing, it seems to have hit a block lately – perhaps because I have been focusing all of my creative energy into a more tactile format…but I’m sure that it will come back to me – I enjoy it far too much to simply let it go…

Enjoy the day with your family on Friday – our guardian angel is watching us. I continue to pass by regularly to say hello and leave a little something of thanks behind 🙂

I hope all is well 🙂 Big hugs all around!
Love Alissa xo

Don’t (please) look at me

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Not only am I an enigma to some, floating away as fast as I arrived, I am also a complete contradiction. To put it rather bluntly, I am simply an introvert who is trying to be an extrovert…or wait? Am I an extrovert who is dying to be an introvert?

No wonder people are generally left confused by my presence. I am obviously giving off some mixed signals here…

Trust me, even I can’t figure it out and I happen to be an overly self-aware individual. I find myself screaming at the top of my lungs to be heard, yet covering my ears like a small child, shaking their head, begging for silence. I crave the chaos and excitement of intense crowds yet I find utter peace and comfort in the solitary cocoon that represents my home.

Yet, even when I achieve that sweet yet savoury moment, I despise the silence.

This week has allowed me the opportunity to explore these contradictions in my personality through the eyes of the media. I have been faced with such extreme examples that it has been simply impossible for me to ignore their magnitude. And through all my shrewd yet dull observations, I am left pondering:

Why do I keep trying to be something that I am not?

Resolutions for 2014

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A very special friend in my life has given me some (somewhat) unsolicited advice with intent to have me start 2014 off on the right foot. You know the type – the friend who will force you to face your inner-most demons completely out of the blue, usually over a bottle of wine, without any attempt to sugar-coat the truth, all in the name of friendship. A true gift. So, with utter nonchalance in tone, I have been advised ‘to simply suspend my disbelief’ for all the amazing things that are happening to me. ‘For they are all warranted and earned – you deserve it…’ And with that deadpan look only a true friend can give, the statement hit my core, whether I wanted to face my demons on that particular evening or not.

When I reflect back on 2013, it would seem that each time I have experienced a new event in this venture or overcome some strange challenge (that I never even imagined that I would have to face in the first place…), my reaction has always been one of awe and shock at my good fortune and dumb luck. Sheer happiness. Utter joy. Things that were once thought impossible, have become possible and I often struggle to figure out the ‘how’ while in the moment. As a result, my reflexes and instincts are becoming compromised. It’s as if everything in my mind is bright and acute with my peripheral moving in slow motion. I can’t seem to react in the same way. I’m able to both hear and see what is going on around me but not at the same time. It’s mildly surreal.

And this dissonance/happy state may be putting me at a business disadvantage.

For it is only when I have a quiet moment to sit back and process the events of the day (with a well-earned glass of wine) can I become objective. After some reflection, I begin to recall the feeling as though I am missing something but because I am on such an adrenaline high in the moment, my senses seem dull, weak and just white noise in the background. I’m simply overcome with gratitude to notice anything else. So, while I am trapped in this stunned and blind state, am I really asking all the right questions? Am I really being thorough in my analysis of the situation? Am I really protecting my interests and not allowing myself to be taken advantage of? Am I unnecessarily creating serious potholes in my path that may be making my road more bumpier than it really needs to be?

2014 will be an interesting year. I have no doubt I will continue to be amazed at the challenges, experiences and achievements which lay ahead.

But I think I need to work hard on not trying to understand the ‘how’ or ‘why’ of a situation and focus more on the ‘who’ and ‘what’ in a much more jaded fashion. The real way that I deal with everything else going on in my life…

Not all mullets are created equal

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I didn’t think it was possible for any man in this day in age to actually posses a mullet outside of Walmart. Perhaps this was why I was so shocked at its presence in the opulent and private dining room of a very expensive restaurant – it was completely out of context. You must understand here that this was not just ANY mullet, but this was the very definition of a mullet – in all of its mystical glory. I struggle now to accurately put it into words – for it can only be described as hockey hair – business in the front, party in the back – complete with soft curls falling softly down the nape of his neck. I’ve seen variations of the mullet over the years but nothing as authentic as this particular version EVER in my adult life.

And – since I happen to be the “luckiest” single woman ever – this short, stocky and poorly coiffed man was to be my dinner companion for the evening.

What can I say – the universe likes a good laugh at my expense…

Yet, to my utter surprise, he turned out to be the most interesting and intriguing person I have met in a very, very long time. A bold statement I know – but I am speaking the absolute truth. We spoke for several hours, vaguely aware of the hum from the other dinner guests, about everything from business, to politics, with everything in between. We had exceptional similarities in our life experiences, could match each other with our knowledge and analysis on most subjects yet offered the other a completely different perspective that allowed for the discussion to flow without any sense of time or quite frankly, any engagement from the other guests sitting at our table. I was so focused that I actually forgot about the existence of his mullet entirely – and it became some strange mirage in the distance…

On my way home, I found myself looking forward to our next meeting. Yet despite my warm and reflective state, I also chastised myself sternly for my earlier reaction, and needed to remind myself that appearances are just that – appearances – and MY snap judgement of an individual based simply on how they are styled is very dangerous and utterly superficial on my part. I ought to be ashamed of myself. I began to feel very guilty for my small-minded thoughts at the start of the evening, for they turned out not only to be misleading but completely inaccurate.

I’m fairly certain he knows that people quietly giggle about his appearance – how could he not. But maybe that’s why he keeps it – because despite the giggle – it also means that he becomes unforgettable.

Which makes him the most unassuming marketing genius for his business and brand. Mullet and all.

Are you afraid of the dark?

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It’s a funny feeling moving forward without really knowing where you are going. While I wouldn’t say that I am afraid of the dark, I certainly recognize its subtle warning to tread lightly. But what is it out there that is stopping me? What force is causing me to react so tentatively yet luring me forward at the same time? What is really lurking out there just beyond my reach?

I have been watching the dense, dark forest representing my goal for a very long time, but always with a keen awareness of the firm grip holding me back whenever I would venture too close to its edge. But now, without warning, this grip has been released – whether by force or fate – and with a child-like sense of curiosity, I blindly wander in without any real path.

It’s eerily quiet. I am desperately trying to coax my eyes to adjust to the darkness, hoping to catch some light reflecting off the shadows. But my eyes fail me. I am trying to not trip on the exposed roots or hit my head on the low hanging branches – ducking and diving purely on instinct and luck. I can hear the ground beneath my feet, reminding me that I have entered this place willingly. But my attention is drawn to my heart beat pounding in my ears, growing louder and more pressing in its rhythm and intensity.

I am completely alone.

Time no longer exists in this strange place. I have nothing to gauge it against to know if I am gaining ground or falling behind. I look around, searching in a naïve attempt to find safety, only to find nothing of comfort. I must continue to move for if I stand still, the quiet evils of the darkness will most certainly consume me. Am I going in circles? Everything looks the same as before. It is only by chance that I stumble upon a tiny opening of safety and I realize that I have been holding my breath the entire time. I gratefully take this moment to re-establish my bearings and quietly bring myself back to the original sense of calm and curiosity that led me here in the first place. My heartbeat continues to pound in my ears. Something is drawing me forward and my feet move once again in an unknown direction, my body unable to stop. Why do I submit to this pull and not just resist? Aren’t I supposed to stay still when one is lost in the forest? Shouldn’t someone be trying to save me?

And then I realize that I couldn’t even find my way back to the beginning even if I wanted to. And nobody knows that I am here.

It is the most compelling and strangely exhilarating feeling I have ever had. I do not know how, if or when I will emerge from this dark place or in what state. The only thing I know for certain is that I am exactly where I must be.

And surrounded by all this darkness and uncertainty, I couldn’t be any happier.

Wanderlust

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I am becoming tired of having to pay for parking. Clearly I need to re-think my financial goals and buy a piece of land downtown, put up a parking meter and whistle my way off to prosperity. Alas, we all know that this is simply not in the cards for me but one can wistfully dream, no?! The consequence for my achieving a free parking space downtown is simply to park further away from my destination and enjoy a little walk in the sun – a real “first world problem” to be had. This particular evening was gorgeous and of course, I knew of a quiet, secret spot to park that I hadn’t used in many, many years.

On the way back from my hunter/gatherer journey for food, I had a moment that literally stopped me in my tracks. For it suddenly dawned on me that I was walking the exact same path that I had taken countless times a day – ten years ago – for the first time once again. It was surreal because absolutely nothing had changed in this little spot in the world. The cracks in the pavement were in exactly the same places. The fence was still crooked and rusted. The trees still encroached overhead, causing a mini umbrella of safety over my path. And I was carrying far more than I had thought I could for this distance. I was literally re-living a moment from my past.

While making all of these subtle observations of my surroundings, it became clear how much I have changed in all these years yet this little place has stayed exactly the same. Death and life; marriage and divorce; pain and personal growth; sudden job loss and opportunities; wealth and poverty; the absolute extremes to be felt in human experience. And all things that I had no idea would ever occur to me as I blindly walked into my future taking this little path for granted all of those years ago.

I still take my new paths now for granted in the same oblivious manner as before. I wonder how different I will be when I have the fortune to re-visit them once again. But you’d think I would have gotten some sort of GPS system by now to avoid a fork in the road…

Smiling as I write this!

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Some simply yet very poignant words were spoken to me last night, gently reminding me that while my path is long and at times, very rocky, that it is meant to be this way – and to never give up. I realized in a matter of seconds that while my circle may be very small, it is very real. And I am thankful for all those who surround me – whether it be for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Each person brings an important gift to my table that I graciously accept. So needless to say, my smile became rather wide and genuine last night over a very spontaneous moment of encouragement.

I’d like to pass on that same advice to all of my followers, whose presence is felt in a same yet very different manner from my “in flesh” friends. Never give up. Keep moving forward even though it seems like you are walking through mud and the end is nowhere in sight. You have a dream – look around at yourself right now – because you are actually living it despite all the struggles and disappointment. Look how far you have come and be proud of your accomplishments towards making that dream a reality. And if you haven’t made the leap yet out of fear, do not fret. But I’d advise you to truly ask yourself in a very quiet and reflective manner – what do I really have to lose?

I enjoy this process and outlet. It’s a strangely distant yet close circle of unknown faces all supporting one another towards a common goal. Thank you for listening. I hope I brought a spontaneous smile to your face today 🙂