October 29, 2010


         While effortlessly browsing Holt Renfrew one day, I stumbled upon a new line of theirs, One Teaspoon. At first glance, I was immediately attracted to the glitzy embellishments – studs on sweaters, lace on blouses, sequins on dresses... I tried on an oversized knit sweater in charcoal, and I felt like I was swimming in luxury, literally. The sleeves were double the size of my arms and the hem came down past my knees. But I love the idea of oversized clothes because you don’t have to worry about whether or not the items fit your form perfectly. I often buy sweaters or shirts in x-large to wear them as layering pieces or faux-dresses, plus they’re just so comfy.  Knit sweaters, silk blouses, and even a few fanciful fur items complete One Teaspoon’s fall line you’ll see in Holt Renfrew now, but here’s a taste of what Summer 2010 was all about, fittingly titled Pleasure and Pain.
           When I’m sorting through many wardrobe options, the perfect playlist is a must while finding the perfect outfit. May I suggest a group you listen to while you browse One Teaspoon’s amazing pieces? The xx, a fairly-recent band out of London, England, is currently on replay at my place, specifically tracks “Crystalised” and “Islands”. Maybe it's not my place to be telling you what music to listen to, but before I was a French teacher I was a music teacher, so listen up. The heck with finding the perfect outfit - I listen to The xx all the time. I even YouTubed them during my lunch hour at school because I needed to listen to them. Look them up, you won't regret it.                          


October 24, 2010


              The past work week was cut short by parent-teacher interviews on two of the days and a professional development day on the Friday - code for no school, but as a teacher you must do something to develop yourself “professionally”. I only had parent-teacher interviews with my grade threes, a class I feel blessed to have. I did not have to use any phrases commencing with, “your child needs work on...”, or “your child is having some problems with...”, or “your child is a terror...”. Instead, I was met with smiles and compliments, a lot of parents saying that their son or daughter often exclaims, “it’s Madame Deitcher day today!” when it is my day to come in. If they only knew that each Wednesday morning I wake up thinking, “it’s grade three day today!”, not to mention “grade four day!” on Thursdays and most recently, “grade eleven day!” on Tuesdays. As much as I wish to have my own class, the same students each day, a classroom I can decorate as I please, there is a certain novelty to being the teacher who comes in once a week. If they are excited to see me because we only get one day a week together, then I am excited too. And I always am.
What I wore for interviews
Dress – Massimo Dutti
Tights – Joe Fresh
Heels – Roberto Vianni
Bag - Coach

October 16, 2010


            Friday rolls around and I get that liberating feeling, you know the one, where you realize it is the weekend and you have time to do whatever you want. I love to waste my time wandering the streets and shops of Vancouver on a sunny Friday evening, and that is exactly what I did. My newest purchase: dress pants from Club Monaco in oatmeal, on sale! But dress pants are not just for the office, or the principal’s office. Here are three ways dress pants make a classy statement:
1.       Classic: dressed for work – dress pants worn with Club Monaco blouse and low burgundy heels from Shoe Warehouse
2.       Casual: dressed down for a weekend day – dress pants worn with Gap zip-up hoodie, knitted scarf, and Aldo embellished flats
3.       Sexy: dressed up for the night – dress pants worn with navy Hollister tank top and red peep-toe heels from Aldo

I had to hem these pants because they were way too long for my 5’3” stature, but I hemmed them a bit shorter than I normally would in order to show off all my shoes.


                There are some perks to being a teacher that I most enjoy: discounts at craft stores, twenty-four smiling little faces to welcome me in the morning, and summer vacations, to name a few. My job has allowed me certain opportunities I may never get to experience otherwise, and those opportunities are made even better by the fact I get to discover them with twenty-four smiling little faces. Tuesday I had five grade-seven boys teach me how to throw a Frisbee properly (I was horrible!), and Wednesday my grade threes and I created stencilled pictures in the style of Andy Warhol. My job often ensures I get my much-needed daily doses of physical exercise and creativity.

                I have yet to be as opportunistic with my fashion career. As anyone who would love some amazing chance-of-a-lifetime to just fall into their lap, the fashion industry hardly seems the place where this may happen. Like most media professions, they start off self-made and self-promoted with the hope of gaining beneficial acquaintances that will widen your fan base and catapult you to stardom. I am officially a self-made business – boxes of hand-sewn dresses litter my closet and under my bed – but I am hardly self-promoting. In an industry that requires you to constantly self-promote until you grab someone’s attention, I only have myself to blame for not being as popular as I wish to be. The question I am always asking myself is, how can I be a teacher and a fashion designer at the same time? I feel I’m only one step ahead of my students, creating worksheets and projects the night before I teach them, sometimes putting the finishing touches on things at recess while they play.  I spend a lot of my time researching for school and barely any time researching fashion. Twenty-four smiling faces can quickly turn to twenty-four hands-in-the-air, questions-after-questions, directions-repeated-a-billion-times, et-en-français-toujours, and quite frankly after all that I just want to eat dinner, read my book, and be in bed by nine-thirty. I am definitely accomplishing what needs to get done rather than what I wish to be done.
But Thursday night, finally, I attended an event downtown that initiates a small step in my fashion career – the Show And Tell Fashion Show at Venue Nightclub. With the help of two people who are epitomes of self-made, self-promoted successes – my brother, the DJ and world-traveller Felix Cartal, and my friend, the fashion blogger and Vancouver socialite A Haute Mess – I was not only guest-listed but also covered the event for The Fashion Guard. Stay tuned for my first article as a fashion critic.

October 12, 2010


               There is no meal quite as satisfying as a turkey dinner. As most of my friends were busy this thanksgiving weekend, I decided to have dinner on Thursday to accommodate all.  Cramming seven people into a 430 sq.ft. apartment is not easy, but definitely makes for a cozy atmosphere without even trying. I have two close friends who are leaving my life soon; one friend is travelling to Uganda to work at a hospital for five months, another is moving to the Cayman Islands for two years. As I am a bit sad they are leaving, (and honestly quite jealous of them as well), thanksgiving dinner could not have been more fitting – thankful to have them as friends, thankful to spend time with them while I still can, thankful for food and wine and laughter. 430 sq.ft. might just be the perfect space for this sort of gathering, as friendships are inevitably brought closer.
                My friend who is leaving for Uganda has a project to do. She is required to involve students in some way, whether through a presentation or communication with them throughout her stay. I was so fortunate that she picked my grade threes to work with, and she created a video in which she spoke about her previous visit to Uganda and the life there. I cannot express my overwhelming gratitude to her as she opened up a whole new world to my students who were continually amazed by the experiences and daily routines of the people in Uganda. Although our lives differ immensely, my students were able to realize some common activities we both do: going to school, playing soccer, performing music, and playing card games. As we listened to more of my friend’s stories, we also realized how extremely different our lives are. My students listened to each story with curiousity, asking questions about the state of food and water, how far one must travel to get to the hospital, what it would be like to attend a one-room school. In turn, they wrote little blips about their lives here in Vancouver to share with the people in Uganda. As a class, we came up with twenty-two little paragraphs about life at school, life with friends, and life in everyday Vancouver, complete with twenty-two hand-drawn pictures. One bit from a boy in my class reads, “Vancouver has pants. Vancouver has toilets. Hockey is found on the TV.” He wanted to tell Ugandans about the things we have here that they may not. One bit from a girl in my class reads, “Skiing is like going down the snow with two sticks on your feet. The snow is white. The snow is cold.” She wanted to explain something they may not know about. As nervous as I was about doing this project with my students, it was so fantastic and so memorable that I wish to always do something like this with all of my classes. It never ceases to amaze me how such young kids can be genuine and sincere towards issues we may think they might have difficulty. They never shy away from asking honest questions, and they revel in the knowledge of honest answers. I cannot imagine what they must think listening to stories of Uganda and being able to write their own stories to people half-way across the world. And they cannot imagine how thoroughly impressed I was with their heartfelt and meaningful captions of their lives. As I read through the entire book, I could not distinguish which impulse was stronger – to laugh out loud, or to cry whole-heartedly, both from pure joy. We all wished my friend bon voyage for her adventure, and as five months trek on we will continue our Uganda project in class.
                Although I cannot say that fashion plays a part in this entry, I can definitely say that it is always fashionable to say what you mean and mean what you say. I thank my friend for this, as she has that uncanny ability to never lie and always speak from the heart. And, I thank mes petits, who without fail, show me every day the importance of speaking your mind and not being afraid to do so, to learn constantly and never give up.

October 4, 2010



                 I am a bit obsessive-compulsive regarding the organizational aspects of my life: I always follow the same morning routine before work; the jars in my fridge always face forward so you can see their labels; my daybook has lists day by day of things I need to finish, which I check off. As a teacher, organization is a must. I also believe that if I demonstrate finely-tuned organization skills, students might take note and follow suit. I am constantly planning activities and new projects for my students in my head, making quick little notes here and there (in my daybook obviously), typing and retyping worksheets that go into their subject-designated folders on my computer, eventually being emailed to myself so I always have a backup copy. Although class ends at 2:45pm, my mind never stops thinking about school. Someday I imagine having all my worksheets and lessons planned weeks in advance, so I won’t always have to be creating the night before. But for now, I am usually at the Vancouver Public Library in the children’s section, checking out bags full of books to take home and study.

                When I was in university, I had a weekly habit of making an article of clothing most likely to be worn out Friday night. While sitting in class, I would design my outfit in my head, making quick little notes in my agenda, and then take the #4 or #14 bus downtown to the fabric store to purchase what I needed. It would be a race against the clock as I tried to finish my creation before that weekend’s big party, desperate to show up wearing something new and different every time. Not all creations were a success. There were many times when I would cut pieces too small, and when trying the dress or shirt or whatever on I would rip the material. There were times when my sewing machine would simply quit on me, strained from strenuous use, just an old thing my friend’s mom had bought at a garage sale and lent me. I’m sure I drove my roommates crazy staying up all hours working away at my projects. But, I was so dedicated to my craft, really believed in what I was making and wore my pieces with pride. Since I have graduated university, now almost three years ago, I’ve barely touched my sewing machine. I always have friends ask me whether I’ve made something of late, and sadly my answer is no. I do not know whether I just got too busy, or whether I gave up on the idea. My sewing machine sits collecting dust in my closet, piles of fabric sit untouched.
                Yet, as my brain is usually working overload creating science labs and art projects for my students, it has never really stopped producing fashion ideas either. I have sketched my designs everywhere, and I find them tacked to my corkboard or hidden with receipts, some in my daybook and some stashed in various purses. There are designs scattered all over my apartment, and every time I find one some force from within tugs at my creative bit of brain sayings “sew! Sew! Sew!” And so, after almost three years, I am finally making clothes again. Warily, I know I cannot produce something every week like I used to, (as worksheets come first), but I am hoping to create a new piece almost regularly. Last Friday night I spent in Whistler will three of my best girl friends. What to wear for a night out in the village? A new shirt of course, courtesy of myself.


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