May 6, 2019

May 30 x 30 Six Days in

On the first of may, I very spontaneously decided to take part in the May 30x30 challenge on instagram. I picked my outfit that day (above), not knowing yet that I would take part - so those items were thus included in my 30 items of clothing for the next 30 days. Turns out these were great items for layering, mixing and matching, and just generally for comfort, too. Hooray!

So far it has been very fun and reminds me of my fashion blogging days, thinking creatively about back drops and locations, and sheepishly asking friends to take photos of me. I promised my partner I wouldn't make him into an "instagram boyfriend" a while back, but he has since been very supportive (and I think he likes the idea of me being more minimal with my closet, too... ha!).

It hasn't been that much of a challenge yet, other than overcoming my feelings of awkwardness about posing, especially in public! But as far as the clothes go, it's been fun, and I decided not to include any accessories except maybe shoes. I've worn three pairs and don't think I'll be needing more of a variety in the next month. I admit I have swapped out one pair of jeans for another, but only because I hadn't yet worn the first pair.

Another fun thing about the May 30x30 challenge is how much of a sense of community I'm suddenly feeling on instagram! I was feeling a bit meh about it, and only connecting with a few people here and there, or people I already knew. Starting the May 30x30 has introduced me to SO many other sustainable fashion enthusiasts, many of whom are very inspiring in their styles and happy to chat and connect! It makes instagram more fun to have honest conversations with others. I am also trying to keep it real and goofy (as above) because 90% of the time when a camera is pointed at me I do stick my tongue out....

The weather in Toronto has been up and down, but I got to pull out a skirt an soak up some sunshine yesterday!

And then today! I got a hair cut in exchange for some of my vintage jewellery - cool right? She also just did such a good job with my hair texture and the exact style I wanted - and wasn't too judgemental about my poorly self-cut bangs... I'm THRILLED! It's kind of a cute shaggy retro cut which I am super into right now. And so here's me with my new 'do at the library again, because I spend a lot of time there and the colours just happen to be my "aesthetic". Heh.

Ok! That's it, my gratuitous outfit photos and my thoughts on 6 days of the May 30x30 challenge! I'll report back halfway through again too, and at the end. We'll see if I'm still enjoying it so much then.


April 2, 2019

vintage earrings ~ shop

You know that feeling when you are thrifting and there's something so good, you can't let it get away? Even though you really don't need it, or it is maybe not QUITE your style? I get that urge a lot. I love thrifting and collecting, but have to be conscious of not hoarding. My solution? Starting a little vintage section in my shop! The House of Ell shop now has vintage earrings listed!

I've already sold a few, which is really exciting! And there's more to come. As you all know, I am a big proponent of sustainability in fashion. As much as possible, I advocate for buying second hand and vintage to avoid encouraging/supporting/funding the creation of new, easily-disposed-of pieces. Alternatively, hand made! Unfortunately that is all-too-often out of my budget, so I really believe that second hand is an accessible option for living fashionably a little more sustainably. The House of Ell shop is my start at contributing to that, beyond just as a consumer!

So have a lookie at the Shop let me know what you think, and maybe keep me in mind should you need some new jewellery sometime!

~ CLICK HERE to get to the House of Ell Shop! ~

March 20, 2019

decor day dream ~ march

With my room mate moving out at the end of this month, I am in the bittersweet position of having to find some new pieces for my space (bitter because... I'm going to miss her. sweet because, an opportunity to thrift and decorate anew!).

~ I am OBSESSED with these Bodum Nissen ball salt and pepper shakers that I discovered while browsing Etsy. This particular seller, Made in Scandinavia.Net has several of them listed.... so tempting!

~ I have already found myself a thrifted set of 4 pink drinking glasses, but I'm loving the coloured glass thing right now so I am possibly looking for more. I just loved this beautiful photograph from this Etsy listing.

~ Minna has one of my favourite instagram accounts to follow and their online shop is chock full of beautiful goodies. I love the sunny tone of their Panalito runner in gold!

Ok, that concludes this morning's day dream (at least, I'm going to try to focus on something other than those Bodum Nissen balls). What decor items are you daydreaming of lately?


*ps. none of this is paid or sponsored, just sharing some groovy finds!

March 13, 2019

Oliver 24.12.2019

I wrote this post in December, after we lost our family pup on the 24th. I've never fully understood peoples' deep emotional reactions to losing a dog, beyond just the initial wave of sadness and loss. I'm still feeling it in March and occasionally having little cries. I didn't want to revisit or re-read this until now, hence why I haven't posted it until today.


There are so many funny, loving, wonderful minutiae I want to capture in words and remember about this little guy. It has been helpful to hear: love does not end upon death, we exist as memories even when our hearts stop beating, energy exists just in different ways... But there is such a physical emptiness in our house since he left.

I want to remember how he would come running at me when I sat on the floor, then turn and nuzzle excitedly into my lap, rubbing his head against my inner thighs and knees, almost in the way a cat rubs the side of its face against you in affection.

I want to remember the weight of his little 6 pound body in bed, pressed against my legs, using my bum as a pillow. The way he'd re-adjust for maximum surface area contact if you'd change position. The way he'd want to sleep right in between me and my guy, should we both be sleeping, for EVEN more maximum surface area. I want to remember how, if I patted the bed next to me he'd shuffle up and get his head next to mine, kiss-licking my cheek a little, snuggled under an arm.

I want to remember the way he'd sit in my lap at the kitchen table when I worked there, or hung out with my parents after a meal, the way he'd sit on my lap but also lay back into my arms at the same time. Every once in a while, seemingly unprompted, he'd lift up his head, lick his lips, and look up at me with his big glossy brown eyes. Just a little hello via eye contact even after hours of sitting in my lap.

I want to remember how jealous he was anytime my dad and step mum danced together in the kitchen, how he'd jump up at them, hugging their legs as though trying to join in on the dance.

I want to remember the way he'd start his legs running before you even put him all the way down on the floor after bathing him. How he would then run down the long hallway in our house at full speed and rub his wet ears on his personal little carpet.

I want to remember the time I was dog sitting and fell sick, and how he let me sleep for twelve hours without waking me to ask for food or to go outside.

I want to remember the absolutely wonky, ridiculous face he'd make when he'd slept on one side of his face and suddenly lift his head, one side totally flattened, making him look a little nutty.

I want to remember the way he'd station himself at the front window, and perk up as he noticed you walking up the doorway. There was also this tense moment of him staring you down, then as you get nearer, the sudden howling and excitement. I miss being announced every time I went over.

I will always remember these warm welcomes, these melty snuggles, these funny faces, these unhindered, authentic, enthusiastic moments of play. There are so many millions of things I could say, Oliver brought so much to our lives for a beautiful 10 years. I have this picture of us taped up next to my bed, it was taken in September when I last dog sat for my parents. That week is one of my warmest memories of my relationship with this little snuggler, our Moo.

I miss and love you endlessly my little man.


March 6, 2019

See, Read, Listen: March 6

See ~
One of my favourite bands, Khruangbin, has the BEST posters for their current tour. Take a peek at two of my favourites below:

Talk about groOoOvy.

 Read ~
"Changing 'the tragedy narrative': Why a growing camp is promoting a more joyful approach to Alzheimer's"

This article by Tara Bahrampour is a really enjoyable read and it fills my heart with SO MUCH JOY to know that there are so many people actively trying to change how our society perceives dementia and persons living with dementia. If you want a sneak peek into my work and school world, this is a great great read.

 Listen ~


This song doesn't need much explanation - listen to it, wish you owned that hat, enjoy ~


February 14, 2019

FREE printables: Last-minute Valentine's

Maybe you're not super into Valentine's so all you and your lovvie do is cards.... but THEN.... you forget to buy a card, or you make one and it didn't really match your vision, or you buy a risqué one and begin to question your choices.... (all things that have happened to yours truly).

Never fear, Katia is here! Ha - but actually, these are designed to be printable onto a standard 8.5" x 11" printer paper, then folded into quarters, and voila! The design on the front, the text on the inside right. Free and printable from home!

I originally did this cowboy version for my guy:

But I loved the format and the styling of the fire-y borders, and decided I didn't want to limit who could be a handsome devil in my world. So, we have these three versions to suit whomever your hunny is. ENJOY!

How to download your printable Valentine: click the link to be brought to the full sized image, right click and press "save image". Then, print on your printer! Done! Finito!

If you decide to use these, please let me know! I'd love to see these babies printed and out there in the world!

Check out a previous year's Valentine's printable HERE!


February 2, 2019

How to Look Stylish in the Canadian Winter

The most basic answer is: don't.

Unless you drive, or take a cab everywhere, and spend literally seconds outside between car and destination.

Functionality is everything. That means the big, mostly shapeless parkas, the chunky boots that keep your feet on the ground and not over your shoulders, the hats that smoosh your curls, and the extra moisturizer that leaves you a little shiny (it's either that or patchy, red, and dry).

Ok - that's about as cynical as I get, and I always reach my highest point of cynicism in the winter. It's at its worst at this time after the holidays. When the colder weather doesn't signal the imminent arrival of celebration and having fun with loved ones. When all the cold signals is imminent days where you refuse to go outside if you don't have to, but then feel socially isolated and frustrated and rage-y with cabin fever.

I do try to feel a little stylish underneath the multitude of layers required to stay warm and dry. I also have a bright red parka and a bright red hat because I tried to veer away from all-black everything. It's a good way to avoid being hit by cars in this crazy city, but it's also a bit intense sometimes, walking around feeling like a big ol' pylon.

I've been trying to hone in to my real/truest style, too. Yes - I was part of the hoards of privileged people with too much clothing (a luxury) who got inspired by Marie Kondo's TV show (even though I didn't like the show) and gave my closet a purge. I tried to hone in to what type of clothing makes me feel GOOD when it's on me, as opposed to me just liking the piece in itself. Sparking joy in different ways, I guess you could say. Since that, I've been Bunz trading like a mad woman and have made some really wonderful trades. I gave a pair of jeans and a vintage guess skirt for a pair of barely used, off-white converse. I traded an un-worn bathing suit for some really cool earrings. I traded with a girl I had known in highschool but never connected with, and we discovered we were both really passionate about sustainability. Bunzing is helping me feel positive about the connections that are possible in this city, even in the freezing cold.

Ok - I'm digressing. Here are some fun tips for not feeling like a soggy burrito for all of winter:

~ Mix up your accessories: this means, switch up your hats, wear a pin on your hat, switch up your scarf, wear fun socks.

~ Don't be afraid of colour: Sure, in wearing light pants or coloured pants you risk sloppy road slush stains. But that doesn't mean you have to subscribe to all-black everything in an increasingly colourless season. Be the colour you want to see in the world.

~ Wear nice underwear: at least you'll look spicy underneath all the layers! Maybe you'll be the only person to know, but that's all that matters.

~View layering as both function AND style: play with your layers! Wear a colourful sweater under a jumpsuit, wear textured tights under cropped pants. These will keep you warm and keep things interesting.

Ok, that's it for my pseudo-helpful-tip-list-but-mostly-a-rant-about-winter!

How do YOU stay feeling stylish in weather that's bogging you down?