Barefoot Contessa - Part Two

by Jen on Monday, May 30, 2011

{Photos by Fotowok}

During a photo session with Fotowok several weeks ago, we stepped into Barefoot Contessa, one of Vancouver's boutique staples. The shop overflows with beautifully whimsical and unabashedly feminine pieces, as well as lovely jewelry (I picked up this necklace), home goods, and even a children's section! In my previous post, I shared some pretty pieces that I tried on from the store. Fotowok's team did such a great job of capturing all of the intricacies of this lovely store and I wanted to share them with you. Enjoy!

and some of the pretty things that I tried on...

Barefoot Contessa - The Clothes

by Jen on Friday, May 27, 2011

{Photos by Fotowok}

Here is the first installment of photos that were taken when Fotowok and I dropped in to local boutique Barefoot Contessa while shooting photos in the neighbourhood. It was so much fun playing with pieces that featured girly details like lace, gold buttons and ruffles-- like playing dress up in a very stylish friend's closet. I think I may need to return for that flowing asymmetrical skirt!

{this skirt was just begging to be twirled in / pattern play}

{a fitted lace dress with the loveliest sleeves}

{my favourite piece - an asymmentrical hem chiffon skirt / pretty clothing overload}

{with the lovely (and expecting!) owner, Eva!}

Thanks to Eva and the super friendly ladies at Barefoot Contessa for letting us take pictures and play dress up with your beautiful clothes!

Barefoot Contessa has locations on Main St and Commercial Drive. You should go!

Get Inspired : Amanda Swanlund of Twenty One Two Designs Inc

by Jen on Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The moment I stumbled upon Amanda Swanlund's design blog, I knew I was in for a treat. An interior designer (for her company Twenty One Two) who designs in a way that is just as gorgeous as it is functional, Amanda creates rooms that stylish individuals who crave a beautiful yet comfortable home yearn to live in. After all- what's the point of a great looking room if it isn't livable? Best of all, she loves to translate her love for aesthetics and colour into not just design but also to the way that she dresses and lives.

Her blog is a lovely collection of all these inspirations. I asked her a few questions about her work and creative process, and here are her answers. Meet Amanda!

When did you know you wanted to be an interior designer? Did you go to school for it?

I knew I wanted to be a designer around age 11 after watching decorator Lynette Jennings on Saturday mornings instead of cartoons. I wasn't quite too sure about what the career entailed, yet I have always been fascinated by interiors and fashion. I studied Interior Design at BCIT and graduated a few years ago.

What are your best sources of inspiration?
I'd have to say travel. I go on a lot of trips here and there and I always see incredible new spaces- restaurants, boutiques, cafes, hotel rooms. I also look up to some of my favourite designers like Sarah Richardson, Candice Olson, Nate Berkus, Barclay Buttera, Mary McDonald, Vicente Wolf, Samantha Pynn and Kelly Wearstler. And fashion plays a huge part for me too.

How often do you change the look of your own home? Do you believe that it is a continuous process and never "finished"?

To be honest, I haven't changed anything in our apartment since we- being my boyfriend and I, moved here in 2009. We're in a rental, so I am waiting until we buy our first place to go wild! I think you can finish a room... until you want to redecorate a few years later!

How does your creative process work? (i.e. Are you always inspired by colour first?)

I like to take inspiration from my client, be it the art they collect, something they said to me during the consultation process that struck a cord, other parts of the home and how they want the space to feel. I love to start with a fabric or a wallpaper to get the creative juices flowing. That can help trigger a colour palette, furniture style and what kind of accessories etc. that we want to use in the space.

Where is your favourite geographical place in the world and why?

That's a toughie! So far I'd have to say Paris or Rome. I was there this past summer and although didn't have too much time to explore, it was seriously magical. The history, the beauty, the people, the art was all so breath taking and fascinating. I can't wait to go back to Europe.

Do you have any tips for creating a beautifully designed room that will withstand the test of time?

I think that if you're true to yourself and your personal style you can't go (too) wrong. :) By investing into classic pieces like a well tailored sofa, but having a little fun with accessories, you can really create a space that will look great for years to come. It's like fashion; if you jump on every trend bandwagon and don't stick with looks good on you and reflects your personal style, it's bound to fail. Pick what suits your needs and lifestyle, keep the lines clean and the colours fresh. If all else fails, hire a designer!

Alternate careers if you weren't an interior designer?
Merchandiser, stylist, furniture store owner, fashion buyer....anything creative!

I highly suggest you check out her blog-- it's full of inspiration for home decor, fashion and

All images are courtesy of Paul Melo

Adorned with a Story

by Jen on Monday, May 23, 2011

These intricate gold bangles are from the mission's trip I went on to India two years ago. I went there with a team of four others and we were there for a month, visiting churches and families in local villages. Besides photos of the trip and memories in my heart, I didn't bring much else back except these. Bangles are such a traditional embellishment for Indian women and wearing these bring me back to the relationships that we built and the times we shared with the locals there, as well as the challenges that we encountered and the faith that was required to get through them.

Though my jewelry collection has piled up substantially over the years, certain pieces are undoubtedly more special to me than others. Some of these may not be the prettiest baubles that I have, butthe stories that go along with them are what make them treasured beyond any material value that they may possess. Here are a few of my favourites coupled with brief stories of why they are so special to me.

Long before I was a statement jewelry fanatic, I preferred gold, nature inspired & relatively daintier pieces. These four were from former local jewelry designer Constantina James (her label, Simply Sublime) who has since moved her work to Greece. My late-teenaged self thought they were pretty much amazing since they were gold filled instead of gold plated, especially since my scope had been limited to what I'd seen in shops like Claire's and Aldo. Since I couldn't afford them at full price, I eagerly anticipated her annual sales where every piece would be marked down to $25; that's how I obtained these. My favourite of the bunch is the necklace with the 'fan', which is actually a real leaf dipped in 24K gold.

This Lanvin x H&M necklace is probably one of, if not the most gorgeous, standout piece in my collection, but aside from its beauty, it also brings back memories for me. It was the first (and likely last) time I ever waited outside for a designer collaboration, and my bestie (who doesn't even really care for fashion) willingly waited outside with me for nearly 10 hours- in the snow, no less: a mark of a selfless friend.

The Thomas Sabo charm bracelet was given to me by David's dad about two years ago. He and David have been intermittently giving me charms as gifts to adorn it with since. I prefer to wear only one or two charms at a time, but this one is my favourite and stays on it almost exclusively: it features boy and girl stick figures and on the other side there is a carved heart. David gave me this one last Christmas, and it is extra special to me because he wears one from the same series (except it only has a boy stick figure) around his neck which his mum gave to him when he was a child.

Island Stroll

by Jen on Thursday, May 19, 2011

Both a must see spot for tourists and a treasured gem for locals, Granville Island is one of my favourite afternoon date locations in the warmer months. David and I spent a few hours there on one of the rare sunny days we were blessed with.Though it has many nooks and crannies, I am partial to the Net Loft, which features a whimsical collection of crafts, gifts and all things creative, and the Public Market: a treasure cove where you can find anything from artisan chocolates to fresh produce, beautiful flowers to decadent pastries... and the best chicken pot pie the city has to offer.

Wearing: RACHEL Rachel Roy blouse, ASOS skirt, Club Monaco belt, Nine West shoes, Michael Kors sunnies, purse from local boutique

Get Inspired : Katie Rodgers of PAPERFASHION

by Jen on Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I first "met" talented fashion illustrator Katie Rodgers when we were both selected (along with the lovely Kim of eat.sleep.wear) for Coach's Guest Blogger search on Twitter (see her feature here). I was immediately drawn to her distinct style of artwork and her penchant for making it look all her own. Katie currently works as an apparel designer at Reebok with plans to move to Barcelona in the near future! Her uniquely beautiful work has attracted clientele from major companies like Target and Coach, and her refreshingly humble personality makes her a joy to interact with. I recently asked her a few questions to get to know her a little bit better; here are her answers! Ladies, meet Katie.

What made you want to illustrate fashion related images in particular? Has that always been your niche?

Fashion is just something I've always been drawn too...! When I was younger, I don't think I realized I was drawn to 'fashion' per say- I was interested in drawing girls in fancy gowns, paper dolls, etc. You know! All the things that lead to fashion. Although, there was a point in time where I was obsessed with drawing horses... and all things Lisa Frank! Thank goodness I quickly grew out of that one....

I'm curious- how do you dress on a day to day basis? Are you as passionate about styling yourself as you are about illustrating fashion?

My style is definitely more low key than my illustrations. I spend so much time working and illustrating, when it comes to my wardrobe, I just want something simple. I try to look nice, and somewhat stylish, but I aim for things I'm comfortable in and don't have to think about too much. I tend to dress in mostly black and neutrals, with some neon pops every now and then. I'm more of an accessories type girl! If the outfit's simple, I like to pair it with a nice bag, funky shoes, colorful scarf, and lots of jewelry!

What's the story behind those signature perfectly-round pink cheeks?

I'm not quite sure actually! They just started happening one day, and I couldn't stop. I love how they add so much more interest to the face. Lately I like leaving them white, and not adding a blush color- like in the Spring Florals Illustration.

You've gotten the opportunity to work with some amazing companies. What's been your most exciting project so far?

Both Coach and Target have been great companies to collaborate with! I especially loved illustrating bags at the Coach Fashion's Night Out event last September! However, my most exciting project thus far.. is actually one I can't talk about yet!! Let's just say it's something non-fashion related... and a collaboration with someone extremely well known. It's such a challenging and eye-opening project- I can't wait to share it with everyone.

I know you currently work at Reebok as an apparel designer. What's your favourite part about that job?

Reebok is great. I couldn't have asked for a better job fresh out of college! It's such a chill laid back environment, with amazing facilities and talented people. If you want to get away from your desk and go take a yoga or Crossfit class, no problem! As for the actual design part, it's great. The teams are super close and collaborative. It's kind of like a small family at Reebok! Although, the best part is the people. It makes for a fun environment when you're working with your closest friends. Honestly, sometimes it seems more like college than a job! We do work hard though, I promise!

Aspirations and dreams for the future?

Well, right now I'm looking forward to my move to Barcelona! Thinking about living there for a long period of time, I really don't know what to expect! There's not a doubt in my mind that it won't be amazing! Beyond that, we'll see... I just want to keep illustrating, learning, and moving forward every day!


See more of Katie's amazing creations on her blog, PAPERFASHION

All images are property of Katie Rodgers -

Off to (hopefully) Warmer Weather...

by Jen

{photo from last summer}

I apologize for the lack of interesting content lately-- I've been doing things in preparation for my Europe trip- which begins today! How time flies. I'm in the middle of packing at the moment and have just paused to quickly write this: I just wanted to let you know that I'll be away until June 4th without internet access, but have scheduled posts so that you will not be left out to dry. ;)

Bye for now!

Club Monaco Giveaway Winners!!!!

by Jen on Sunday, May 15, 2011

After a hitch in Blogger's system and the deletion of 10 plus entries (and the opportunity to enter again if your entry was deleted) followed by frantic name entering into Excel and the verifying of submissions, I'm pleased to finally announce the winners of the Club Monaco giveaway!!

First, here are the 10 winners of the 20% off Lucky You cards (and their Twitter handles):

Grace @CanineCelebrity
pancakeSTACKER @pancakeSTACKER
Xiao @xiaoo
Mary @delightfulB
Kathy Ko @kathygko
ne-knopka @annakul
Anya @imtheitgirl
Classy Chic @fauxionista
Kate @kaaatemaclean
Kristy @Monochroma_chic

and the winner of the Pamera skirt is...

Cee @cocoandvera!!


Congratulations to all the winners! Please email me your mailing address to herwaisechoice [at] to claim your prize!

Winners were chosen using

Updated Prep

by Jen on Monday, May 9, 2011

{Photos by Fotowok}

The moment I saw it in stores, I had my heart set on wearing this bright patterned skirt with a navy and white striped nautical jersey tee. I thought the pattern and colour mixing was too ideal to ignore and that it was the best possible pairing for it. When I reached for it a few days later though, I was forced to improvise because I wasn't able to find what I wanted among the sea of clothes that were scattered all over my room from moving back from school. The result? I've concluded that I actually like this combination more! It isn't always so (I've experienced far too much stress from trying to throw together the "perfect" outfit last minute), but sometimes the styling process just works out so much better when it is done freely and without planning. And in spite of the cheesiness: when that happens, it's like magic. How do you get dressed? Are you a planner or an improviser?

P.S. Have you checked out my giveaway collaboration with Club Monaco? Enter here!

Wearing: Joe Fresh skirt, Dynamite blouse (got this nearly 10 years ago for band concerts when I played the flute in school... haha), vintage belt and earrings, Zara shoes, sash from a random dress