The $3 Outfit

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Bargain shopping has never been my forte. Usually I don't have the time or patience to go through endless racks of clothing in search of that one solid designer piece that costs $5. I'm more of a, "That button up is looking directly at me on that face out and it's calling my name. I need it" kinda girl.

But thanks to my mother's vigorous style when it comes to finding the cheapest fashion finds and my dear friend, Grace, this outfit was a whole three dollars. 

Standing in her darling bedroom in Melbourne, Australia, Grace took the white Velvet Villains dress out of her closet and threw it at me. "It's too short for me, you have it," She said. "No! I can't take it from you!" I immediately responded. "It's a gift." Said Grace. Ah, what a wonderful friend. The dress was incredibly girlie with a lace like aesthetic and I adored the low back. I wore it that day.

When I studied abroad in Australia in 2012, Grace saved me on numerous occasions when it came to my fashion game. Lets just say I packed nothing for living abroad for 6 months. I think I was the only girl to show up with only one suitcase. Everyone had two or more suitcases full of their favourite clothes (even mothers sent boxes of shoes from faraway lands for their daughters). It felt like the only thing I brought was my Doc Martens and an Aritzia jacket that I can't even look at till this day because I wore it so much down under. I felt ridiculous next to the trendy Australian girls.

Grace would provide me with dresses and heels for a night out all the time. Sundresses, sequin dresses, cutout dresses. She had it all. She was my exchange fashion fairy godmother.

Grace and I on a winter's day in Melbourne. How cute is she with her fingerless gloves? Oh and my deep purple Sportsgirl hat? My favourite purchase of my time abroad…that I left in the bus taking me to the airport on the morning of my departure. Forever crying.
And then there's my mother. This woman is an all-star when it comes to stumbling upon cheap cute finds. So many of my favourite things in my closet are found by my mother and usually cost under $10. My roommate Sarah always asks, "How does she do it?" I don't even know. I guess if you look long and hard enough through the rubble, you'll find a gem.

She found this black David & Young felt hat at a Ross down in Phoenix, Arizona for $3. It's a really cute fit and was perfect with the white sundress.

These amazing photos were taken by the ultra talented Isaac Sim! This was his vision and I'm so thrilled I got to be apart of it! It was so lovely shooting at golden hour here in Vancouver at Queen Elizabeth Park. It was an evening full of creativity and we were both so happy with the final outcome. 

Issac Sim

Just A Fragment Of You.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Forgive me for lacking with the playlists! I'm giving my iTunes a good clean and getting rid of some songs I don't listen to anymore to bring on board some fresh new tracks. 
Enjoy! x

THE LOVELY MANIFESTO: MIX 5 from thelovelymanifesto on 8tracks Radio.

1. Tears In The Rain - The Weeknd
2. Hands - Alpine
3. Continuum - Young & Sick
4. Just Fragment Of You - Anthony Gonzales & Brian Reitzell
5. Bigger Than Us - White Lies
6. Changing (feat. Paloma Faith) - Sigma
7. About You - XXYYXX
8. Too Late - Ariane Moffatt
9. Please Don't Go - Barcelona
10. Reflektor - Arcade Fire

The Kite String Tangle

Sunday, 17 August 2014

You know those songs that just hit you upon first listen? The kind that have such an emotional impact on you that you latch onto it for days, weeks, and even months? It's like with every listen, you're hearing it for the first time again. Once the song is done, you instantly restart it. Maybe it's the emotional chord it strikes within you or maybe there's something about the post production that just hits you (if anyone truly knows me, you know I'm a little obsessed with sultry tribal/jungle chimes in songs).

I remember the first time I heard Given the Chance by The Kite String Tangle. It was September 2013 and before bed I was music hunting on Hype Machine. 5 seconds into this track, I was hooked. A lengthy build, a hard hitting chorus, and eccentric hooks? GOSH. It was an incredible heart-rending moment that burned inside of me. I knew I found something special.

  This past week, TKST's much anticipated debut EP Vessel (featuring 6 tracks) hit the scene and it has a little bit of everything. Emerging out of Australia's booming electronic scene, Brisbane's Danny Harley incorporates stunning vocals with heartbreaking lyrics and a beautiful polished production to create something special. After the release of 'Given the Chance' (and a little cover he did of Lorde's hit 'Tennis Court' and collaborations with Elroy 4.0 and Adventure Club), The Kite String Tangle took off big time. I can only describe his style as IDM with elements of alternative electro pop, which I'm like, totally into. Vessel has unbelievable synths and a bold fresh texture. 

The EP, with it's indie flare, has the potential to become a commercial hit, especially with a track like Arcadia. It's gentle, infectious, and has a story that is made for the mainstream. Harley says:

“‘Arcadia’ represents an unobtainable ideal that we all create in certain situations. In this case it focuses on a post-relationship situation where you want to go back to that comfortable space that the relationship represented, but things have changed and that place doesn’t exist anymore. It doesn’t stop us from striving for it even though it might be out of reach.”

Oh, and those steel drums? Swooning hard.

Another strong track is Stone Cold which features Tiana Khasi. The lyrics hit close to home - the tale of a boy and girl and their lost love. The girl? Full of hurt and regret (hi, been there). Tiana and Danny both wanted to explore more of a dance side with the song and their decision proves to be powerful.

And don't even get me started with Words. In an interview with Pilerats, Harley said:

"Ironically titled, this song had the express purpose of trying to convey as much meaning with as few words as possible. It’s supposed to embody the feeling of utter speechlessness at the hand of extreme emotion. That moment when something dawns on you and your chest tightens and your throat dries up. Fragility and instability. Sonically I also tried to represent the feeling of being hugely overwhelmed at the end with the abrasive wall-of-sound. This song is definitely supposed to make you feel and I hope that it adds a bit of depth to the EP."

The Kite String Tangle is a performer I feel strongly about and who is on his way to great success globally. If this is only the EP, I can't wait for what's in store for Danny Harley and his debut album.

Reykjavik, Iceland - Part 1

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

View from the top of Hallgrimskirkja.
When I was 16, something magical happened.
I fell asleep in front of the television and when I awoke again, I saw a documentary showcasing the most stunning landscape I'd ever seen.
It was Iceland.

I was instantly fascinated with this northern European island that seemed so incredibly mysterious, dark, and isolated.
It was in that moment that I started dreaming of travelling to Iceland.

Fast forward 7 years.
It's May and I had just wrapped up my final year of university. I was thirsty for a new adventure, one I wanted to embark on alone. I wanted to do something by myself and for myself. What better place to do this in than my dream destination.

My Icelandic journey began at Vancouver International airport on May 14th. I didn't tell many people where I was off to. And the ones I did tell kept asking the question, "Seriously? Iceland? Why?" To which I would respond with, "It's next on the list."

I had no idea, but I was going to be on the inaugural flight from Vancouver to Reykjavik with Icelandair. When I arrived at our gate, I found a news crew, official airport staff, and a DJ from Iceland all partying it up. A massive cake replicating the Icelandic flag with the famous Eyjafjallajökull volcano situated on top was ready to be eaten by the passengers.
This was my type of boarding lounge.

After a 7 hour flight which consisted of watching one of my favourite films of all time, Garden State, and listening to a healthy dose of Bjork and Sigur RosI was welcomed to a rainy morning in Reykjavik and honestly, couldn't have asked for better weather. Again, what drew me to Iceland was the mystery of it all. I wanted darkness to greet me (as depressing as that sounds).

I hopped on a bus ready to take me to my hostel in the city centre. As we drove along, my eyes were glued to what was outside. It felt like I was on Mars. Rock after rock after rock on the ground as mountains tumbled above. I heard another passenger on the bus, obviously Canadian say, "This reminds me of Saskatchewan." Mate, a bit different than the Canadian prairies, don't you think?!

My first impression of Reykjavik? Quaint. The city seemed so pleasant and sweet. The rocks turned into rolling green hills where cute Scandinavian neighbourhoods lined the streets. But what I will say is that I noticed an undeniable contrast between old and new. The new houses had a chic modern twist to them and the old houses bleed with old European influence. 

The hostel I stayed at was called Hlemmur Square. I picked it because it was cheap. But when I arrived, I notice how slick and minimal (in all the good ways) it was. I was told the hostel was less than a year old. I've had my fair share of staying in hostels around the world and I gotta say, Hlemmur Square has been my favourite. A little cafe and bar welcomes travellers in and an Icelandic folk band plays in the lounge in the evenings. Another thing I adored about Hlemmur were the big windows. I came to Iceland in the Spring meaning 22 hours of daylight. The morning sun was spilling through the windows as I walked in. It was just such a beautiful and simple moment to usher me in.

Hlemmur Square
I stayed in a 12 all female room, which was pretty luxurious (we got our own robes!) and I had some pretty rad chicks in my dorm to chat to: A woman from Singapore who was literally travelling the world, having touched all seven continents. I was fascinated by her travels to Antarctica and how she and her tour group had to take a detour to a Russian military base for a medical emergency on board. A fierce 19 year old from Germany who had just been living in Iceland for three months. I loved walking back into the hostel and hearing her crazy boy stories. And an American girl who sailed all over the world for a Semester on Sea.
I was in good company with other solo female travellers. 

Looking outside my window at the hostel, Hlemmur Sqaure - this is 11:00pm
Having arrived in Reykjavik at 6:30am (nearly midnight in Vancouver) I forced myself to face the day without sleep and go explore right away. There was no time to lose.

I'm all about aimlessly wandering. I just follow where my two legs take me. Hlemmur Sqaure was located on Laugavegur, one of the main streets in Reykjavik that takes you right into the city centre. Adorable cafes, ultra cool restaurants, hip clothing stores, and tourist shops made up the street. I think I looked in nearly every window.
With my trusty Zara parka, Topshop toque, Oxblood Doc Martens, and camera in hand, I was ready for some city adventures.

Iceland OOTD.

Walked pass a record store and this little lady was hiding in the corner.
The rain had stopped and the gloomy Reykjavik morning brought on a winter like chill, which I was completely okay with. My aimless wandering took me all over the city. I usually walk at the speed of light, but this time I really took my time to walk up and down every street, looking high and low. I didn't want to miss anything Reykjavik had to offer.

Reykjavik is a very quiet city. No hustle and bustle, but a lot of innovation and creativity. I love a city that can celebrate the arts and Reykjavik does just that. From music festivals like Iceland Airwaves to small events celebrating local artists, Iceland is a country of inspiration. It's no wonder so many films are starting to be filmed in this hidden gem of a country.
Also, everyone walking the streets were good looking. Style game was spot on (sweaters, toques, a good pair of boots) and everyone was just a natural beauty. I was into it.

Just like me, cute little cats roamed the streets too.

After some exploring, I decided to treat myself to a nice lunch. I went back to the cutest cafe I saw on my wander. It was along Laugavegur and called Bakari Sandholt. The natural light from the Iceland sun poured into the cafe and it felt enchanting. I knew I picked the perfect place. With a brie sandwich in one hand and a latte in the other, I was at peace. I took out my map of Iceland and began scheming.

I couldn't help but to do a bit of people watching too. A loved up French couple shared a coffee in the corner and a Father and Daughter laughed together over a hot chocolate. It was all wonderful.

Bakari Sandholt
After taking my sweet time in the cafe and planning what else I wanted to see for the rest of the day, I decided to head up to one of the most prominent landmarks in the city - Hallgrimskirkja.

Stay tuned for Reykjavik - Part 2 


Overalls + Autumn

Monday, 11 August 2014

I've been thinking a lot about fall fashion lately. The thought of big knit sweaters, blanket scarves, and boots makes me go weak at the knees. I'm so excited for the return of this glorious season that brings out some of the best fashion.

I mean, I don't want to tell summer to go away just yet. I love the sunshine and the pure blue skies, but I'm getting a little bored of denim cutoffs and tank tops.

But a piece I've been wearing a lot this summer are my Wilfred Free Valletta overalls. I bought this pair from Aritzia as a Valentine's gift to myself (hey boys, what's up?). Instead of going for your typical denim fabric, I thought I'd go with a light wash and drapey linen to change this up from your classic overall. What I love about this pair is the peg leg silhouette, the patch pockets, zippers, and drawcord.

Overalls: Aritzia
Wedges: Urban Outfitters
Flower Crown: K is for Kani

Half of you are probably thinking, "Monika, are you 5 years old? Overalls were a thing in kindergarten." Well, you know what? This 23 year old is a full supporter of the comeback of this 90s trend (single handedly brought back to life by many fashion bloggers). Dungarees (as our good friends in the UK and Australia would say) aren't what they use to be. To many, the overall is a symbol of youth and innocence or a fashion piece your mother wore when she was painting the house.

But oh how times have changed, ladies! Now, the overall is back with vengeance. Like us, it too has grown up to become sassy and chic. Scrap your idea that the overall has to be this baggy mess only worn by old school rappers. Now, it's all about the streamline and cuts (the key for rocking a good pair of overalls is the fit).

Now, believe me when I say, I don't have a big wardrobe and I don't shop very often (help me, I'm poor). So when looking at my clothes the other day and thinking about the prospect of fall fashion, I thought, "How can I bring these Spring/Summer overalls into the Fall/Winter?"

Perhaps bringing a linen fabric over into the next part of the year is difficult (and I'll admit this is where I wish I had purchased a denim overall), I think it's possible. And here's how I'm gonna do it:

Under overalls, a simple t-shirt, a simple long sleeve, or even a blouse is super sleek. Choose a neutral to balance out the look of the overall, or if you're daring, pick an eccentric colour to maximize your garment. 
A blazer, jacket, or cardigan are great choices to throw on overtop of overalls. This winter, I'm thinking a great black overcoat would look absolutely rad with a pair of overalls.

Danielle Bernstein of We Wore What 
Free People
If you have a pair of short summer overalls, bring them into winter by layering a sheer pair of tights underneath.

From bracelets to rings to chunky statement necklaces, give your overalls a pop of silver, gold, and colour, especially if you're rocking a simple denim overall. Scarves and beanies will also allow for more of a winter chic. The overall tends to have this boyish feel to it, so accessorizing will allow you to make your look a little more style forward. It's all about the detailing.


Ditch those flats and sandals and live a little, girl! Platforms, stilettos, and wedges have all become the overalls best friend. If you have a pair with a pant that hits at the ankle, roll them up and pair it with some chic heels. Even in the winter, a small or tall heeled boot will look amazing. For a long leg, tuck your pant into your boot to give your outfit more form.

Another little thing I'm going try this winter is throwing a big sweater overtop of the overalls, only allowing for the pants to show. I think that look could have a lot of potential. I just love the fabric of my overalls and I want to be able to show them off! 

A winter look I tried with the overalls earlier this year.
The combination of the turtleneck and overall sounds like a complete disaster, but hey, I thought the look turned out okay!

Overalls: Aritzia
Turtleneck: Joe Fresh
Heels: Hudson's Bay

Monday, 4 August 2014

As many of you know, I'm a fashion writer on an Australian based fashion website called
I've been with the website for about 8 months now as their Vancouver Insider/Editor. I've really enjoy it and it's amazing to see people from all over the world read my work and start conversation about it - whether it's on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
From runway fashion, to celebrity, to beauty, I cover some of the biggest fashion trends and events of the moment.

This week's article is gonna focus on Blake Lively and her new lifestyle website, Preserve. Stay tuned for it!


Love Don't Leave Me Now.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

I'm back from Ontario! I'm sorry your Friday playlist turned into a Sunday one. But go ahead and take a listen! Hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend! x

THE LOVELY MANIFESTO: MIX 4 from thelovelymanifesto on 8tracks Radio.

1. Brother (Kygo Remix) - Matt Corby
2. Oh, Why - Balam Acab
3. My Silver Lining - First Aid Kit
4. Shooting Stars - Bag Riders
5. Ready For Your Love (feat. MNEK) - Gorgon City
6. Slow Hands (Interpol Cover) - Azealia Banks
7. Extraordinary (feat. Sharna Bass) - Clean Bandit
8. Love Don't Leave - Avalanche City
9. No Excuse - Jacques Greene
10. No One's Gonna Love You - Band Of Horses