For the Love of Pattern

I love bold patterns. I often opt for solid colours out of safety, but once in a while there’s something too incredible for me to pass over.

IMG_0071

A dress I bought in Singapore – the base has the most intricate and delicate design.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s clothing or decor. Sometimes something more is needed to create a stronger contrast, and a more daring image.

IMG_0072

My favourite summer yellow with a floral print.

Too much, of course, is overpowering and overly busy. The eye cannot settle and everything clashes.

IMG_0074

Mixing pattern and solids.

I love a balance. Which is, ultimately, a philosophy I try and follow in most aspects of my life.

IMG_0070

IMG_0065

Modern bohemian prints. I’m a bit of a sucker for them.

IMG_0073

I bought a sheet of wrapping paper just to frame on the wall. 

The perfect touch in the bedroom. A bright splash of colour that’s not too distracting.

How do you incorporate patterns into your every day life?

 

 

Advertisements

I, By


I work next to the smell of the sea. 

And sometimes I think that I can understand, just a little, the longing sailors feel when separated from the ocean. 

I grew up next to the sea. 

I know the sound of waves, of gulls, of water slapping the side of boats. 

I grew up watching the sea. 

To be inland, I feel a sense of loss. As if a vital part of me is missing. That sense of endlessness has disappeared. 

Less is More

Every year I find myself wanting to do less and less for my birthday. Yesterday I went to work, and then to celebrate, I went to a pub with just a couple friends.

IMG_0049

Mango cake! My favourite!

It was small, intimate, and perfect.

IMG_0046

I do feel incredibly lucky, though, to work at a place where my employers show that they value their employees.

For each employee’s birthday they will buy them a bouquet of flowers.

For me they chose yellow, since I’m a summer baby, and red for my Chinese heritage. It was thoughtful, and generous, and such a nice touch.

IMG_0050

I’m not sure why I did not feel the need for a great bit celebration – I certainly used to enjoy them. And I know I’m not the only one who now prefers smaller parties.

What about you? How do you enjoy celebrating your birthday? Have your celebrations changed over the years?

Welcoming

Welcoming the summer with open arms. The seasonal changes in my city are not dramatic. Ever the odd child, Vancouver has mild winters compared to the rest of Canada, and our summers are much cooler.

IMG_0037But still I get to enjoy the changing seasons. I get to see new life in spring, the warmth of summer, the colours of fall, and the coziness of winter.

And right now I eagerly step into summer. One that I hope will be filled with days at the beach, in the forests, and out in the sun.

What do you love most about summer?

Take Me Away

There’s an old train track that spans much of my neighbourhood. It’s in the middle of being taken apart, which is good because it means much-needed infrastructure is going to replace it.

Christine Fichtner train tracks

On the other hand, there was something nice about the old, overgrown tracks. Walking along the wild, untamed plants and exposed metal. They will be missed.

Wonderfully West Coast

Staying home sick means time to browse through photos. In this case, some photos of me and my fiancé, taken by the incredibly talented Kelly at Lensandlash.com. Her photography is amazing and her posts are inspiring and if you have the time, you should take a peek at her blog!

_MG_4694

So recently she took some photos of me and Ryan, and they turned out beautifully. In a very West Coast fashion, we went to the beach. It was cloudy, but it didn’t matter. The sand, the driftwood logs, the mountains in the background… all of it added up to a huge reason we love where we live.

_MG_4821

There was something perfect about the day. A quintessentially Vancouver spring day with overcast skies and a cool breeze. It was cozy and familiar.

_MG_4684

It also meant I didn’t have to squint with the sun shining in my eyes.

_MG_4843

All in all we had a blast. And can’t thank Kelly enough for all of the photos.

The Green

There’s one thing that I always notice and miss when I’m away from home: the green. I am incredibly lucky to be living in a place that has so much nature everywhere.

IMG_0030

A small haven in the middle of the city

Even just a short walk from my apartment, I find myself in a little bit of heaven. A small retreat that’s there whenever you want it.

IMG_0033

I’ve seen adults gathered around having picnics. I’ve seen kids playing. I’ve seen people watching as their dogs romp around in the grass. And I’ve stood in the welcoming embrace of the green.

IMG_0032

It may not be blooming all year, but even in the winter, the plants wait for their chance to shine.

IMG_0031

And it amazes me how the plants adapt to whatever structures they encounter. How it has grown so strong around the metal building. How it now depends upon it for support, just as the building depends upon the plants for its life.

IMG_0034

I love the life in this city. The one that breathes from the roots all the way to the leaves.

Spring Style: Patterned Jeans

I love lighter colours in the spring. Softer, gentler ones that breathe life into a calmer winter wardrobe.

IMG_0025

Canadian graffiti.

These are my absolute favourite jeans. They’re soft in colour, but have the most wonderful paint-swirled pattern. Some of the most unique jeans I’ve found yet.

IMG_0024

Rich & Skinny Jeans

Paired with a simple, loose white shirt from h&m, a cute acorn necklace, and a vintage leather bag.

IMG_0022

IMG_0023

And since I’m a fan of comfort, Birkenstock sandals to finish up the ensemble.

IMG_0026

It can be paired with almost any purse.

What’s your favourite spring colour or style?

Throwback to the ‘Cool’ Sweatpants

I have a confession to make: I haven’t bought sweatpants since high school.

Now, to put this into context, I live in a city where it’s normal to go to school or grocery shopping in extremely casual wear. Vancouver is not, unfortunately, known for its fashion. Sweatpants are extremely popular here. So going for that long without buying new sweatpants is a bit surprising. Especially since, though I admit that while I was skeptical at first, this style of sweatpants is really growing on me (you can dress them up! Crazy!).

That being said, giant, baggy sweatpants were actually considered cool when I was in high school, and were a staple in my wardrobe. The signature Russell sweatpants. Oversized. Part sporty, part hip-hop dance inspired.

Getting a kitten has had me digging to the depths of my wardrobe and bringing out clothes that I don’t wear very much anymore. As armour against the kitty claws. This includes sweatpants from over ten years ago, and old sweatshirts. It made me rather nostalgic.

Christine Fichtner tbt sweats

Just missing the Adidas Originals shoes.

In my defence, these sweatpants have held up extremely well against any wear and tear. Quite amazing, considering how often I used to wear them.

Most of the time at home I wear pyjama bottoms. But I have to say that I’m very much enjoying the good old sweatpants. And they do an excellent job protecting me from my kitten’s claws.

All in all, I’m very glad to have dug these out. I still might buy some new sweatpants though.

 

Wardrobe staples: Leather Jacket and Booties

I love it when clothes feel like they carry secrets.

Fashion

Cool colours for the cooler spring days.

Pockets in dresses, small details, hidden colours.

Part of the reason I love my leather jacket and booties is because both of them carry secret colours on the inside. Outwardly, it’s not visible. But every so often, the colours flash as if coming out of hiding for just that turn, that one step.

Christine Fichtner leather jacket

It hides a lovely green.

Another I reason I love them is that they’re classics. You can never go wrong with a black leather jacket and grey ankle boots. They match almost any outfit. You can dress them up or down. Shopping, work, for drinks at the bar… the possibilities are endless!

Christine Fichtner booties

Leather booties from Coach. Well worn and loved.

When it comes to jackets and shoes, I prefer not to skimp. As tempting as it is to buy more pairs of cheaper shoes, I am a firm believer that buying good quality shoes will be a better investment in the long-run. They’ll be more comfortable, and they’ll last longer. Comfortable shoes become well-worn over many years. Cheap shoes soon find their way to the trash can after a season which, in addition to being a waste of money, is bad for the environment.

Styles change quickly, which is why I try to look for classic staples that I’ll be able to wear throughout the years.

I don’t completely rule out fast-fashion. But I try to invest in quality. As someone close to me used to always say: I’m not rich enough to be able to afford cheap shoes.

Treasure Hunting

Nature and food. Two treasures that I love.

Christine Fichtner Quarry Rock hike

Isolated

Lucky for me, I live in a city that has a ton of both. How could I not take advantage of it?

As my first hike of the year, it was probably a good thing that I ended up going on a shorter, easier trail. (I may have huff and puffed anyway…)

My friend Miki called me up and we headed out to Deep Cove to hike up to Quarry Rock. It’s a gorgeous hike, and the view up top is spectacular. It’s a fairly popular hike, and by the time we started to head back, the trail was getting a bit more crowded.

Christine Fichtner bun hair curls

Feeling accomplished post-hike!

There was not a lot of wildlife to be seen this time around, but seeing a raven hanging out around all the hikers at the top was quite something. It must be quite used to humans, since it did not seem nervous at all despite having at least twenty people  and five dogs sitting or standing around.

Christine Fichtner Quarry Rock

A spectacular view.

There’s something wonderful about being surrounded by trees, secluded, away from the reaches of urban life.

It’s rejuvenating for the body and mind. It’s something that never fails to lift my spirits. The life, the energy, everything about it, I believe, brings out the best in us.

Christine Fichtner Honey's donut

How could I not?

Of course, after hiking we had to stop by Honey’s for some incredible donuts. The maple donut was well worth the trek across the city.

The weather has been incredible this year, and I plan to take full advantage of it. This means plenty of hikes and time spent outdoors.

I live in a beautiful city full of opportunities to enjoy nature. What about your city? If I were to visit, where would you send me?

 

It’s Worth it.

Christine Fichtner Seawall

Spring means gorgeous weather, which means I can finally spend time outside.

The Seawall is a gorgeous place to go jogging. There are two in Vancouver, one along each side of the inlet. I go to the one closer to my house, of course, and get this amazing view as a reward.

It’s nice to jog in areas full of fellow runners and casual walkers. The clear skies always bring forth smiles. The numerous adorable dogs help, too. One day I’ll have a dog to walk every morning. One day.

So though the whole time I’m jogging it hurts and I’m questioning why I decided to torture myself like this… all I have to do is look out to the ocean and realize just how worth it it is.

My City – Friday Flash Fiction Challenge by OM

   The endless rain of cars upon the streets lends a droning noise to the excited bustle of crowds that pace the streets in furious waves of cell phones and music players. Conversations you did not need to hear and lyrics you shouldn’t even be able to hear.

   Up and down and across the buses loop with black coughs. At even intervals, as trains arrive with squeals as painful as aching joints, and the ground rumbles in a mockery of the earthquake that has been on its way for the last fifty years.

   Around, buildings tower with promising winks and glassy eyes. Mirrors of desire. Coffee warms the hands of most who browse the streets. 

   Trees grow within their cages, trimmed and perfected. Blossoming in spring and illuminated in winter. They line the streets like ornamental filters. People flick their cigarette butts in appreciation.

   An overpriced food truck. The same free newspaper you avoided two blocks back. No, you don’t have any spare change. You jaywalk a one way street. A car stops for you.

   Every once in a while the sun deigns the city worthy of an appearance. But most days the skies mimic the cold cement, and cry for good measure. Ever followers, clothing of black and grey greet the eye like the dense fog that has been around all week.

   Hard paths line the water, just beyond the shore. Bike bells and pounding steps followed by the scent of sweat. The occasional seal greets from afar, soon chased away by a ship’s horn. Gritty sand is cool in the shadow of the logs that line the beaches. Hills of grass and a spattering of trees give a semblance of privacy. 

   Every few months, fireworks cheer, costumes parade the streets. And sometimes birthday suits on two wheels flash past amongst cheering laughs.

   Languages hum to each other. Every corner, a new one. Pointing fingers, flashing cameras, and large buses driving just a bit too slowly through the winding, illogical streets.

   Yellow, red, black, signs lit, meters already running, slowing past bus stops and huffing when no one moves, speeding off for better luck elsewhere. Of course when you call, there are none available.

   Because when night falls, the buses retreat and the alcohol pours and the police are unyielding with their sirens and dooming slips of paper. Stumbling from the bars and clubs, money scattered throughout the night, the cabs are there to collect the rest.

   The scent of cuisines as you walk towards the water. Never the same one twice. Except for sushi. 

   Clothing sales as you move towards the pounding heart of traffic lights and beeping cars. Malls of stale air and clashing stores. Further away, niche boutiques and trendy wear eat away at your bank statement.

   You avoid the east. The used needles that sleep beside someone who is not all there at the moment. The transactions that take mere seconds, switching hands as fast as they greet each other. And after dark, the knives that flash.

   The buildings sigh downwards as you move north. Trees overtake the ground. Houses  coexist among them, each with pet plants growing, well manicured and obedient. Here you hear the children playing, the dogs barking. Occasionally the complaint of a hungry cat.

   Vehicles grunt their way up the steep roads. Colourful shoes flash as joggers and cyclists challenge the slopes. Up and up, until the forests swell, ripe with bird calls, dainty hooves, and snuffling snouts. 

   And the mountains overlook with the fondness as the city spreads like competing children. At the buildings that covet the watery view and the bright colours of the sun’s extremes.

   As light fades, the clouds, in a rare moment of kindness, may choose to reveal the sky’s solemn sentries that dot the darkness in a slow, rotating guard. The city lights glimmer like a dying fire’s embers. It’s warm, and if you could, you would reach out and touch it.

—-

A fun Friday challenge by OM to describe any city in less than 1 000 words. I decided to describe my city, Vancouver. Has anyone ever visited before? Can you relate?

Blended

Christine Fichtner Vancouver Chinatown

I love the blending of styles within the city. Face the tall, glass buildings, the busy streets. Then turn and breathe in the serenity of the gardens and koi pond.

There are small nuggets to find buried within the city. In the middle of everything, and yet cut off and bubbled in its own unique tranquility.

There’s always some place to go when you need to relax, to get away, even if you cannot leave the city.