Monday, December 22, 2014

Outfit: Vancouver

As I mentioned in the last post, we spent the last weekend of November in Vancouver. 

It happened to be Grey Cup weekend, and the Calgary Stampeders were playing the Hamilton Tiger Cats. And, they actually won! Maybe in tribute to my hometown, the weather in Vancouver that weekend was actually very Calgary-ish. Sunny and cold, and there was even a dusting of snow on the ground.

One of my favourite places in Vancouver is Stanley Park. I never spent much time here when I actually lived in Vancouver, but as a tourist, I've loved exploring the park and discovering its treasures. 

The totem poles in the photos below are one of BC's most visited tourist attractions. They have been there since the 1960s. Most of them are replicas now.

I just realized while creating the links for this outfit that everything is Banana Republic (except for the accessories and boots). What can I say. I love the charcoal trench. It fits snugly, and looks equally good belted or worn open. It's not particularly warm though, and I don't see myself wearing it when it gets really cold. Also, the belt is really, really long. The sweater is cozy, and I love the longer length paired with a mini skirt.

Outfit details:
Coat: Banana Republic, Charcoal Wool Trench (on sale!)
Sweater: Banana Republic, (similar)
Skirt: Banana Republic, last season
Tights: Target
Boots: Frye, Paige stud (similar without the studs)
Scarf: Hudson's Bay Company, very old

Do you ever wear a single brand head to toe?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Anthropologie: Post-Black Friday reviews

Sadly (or perhaps fortunately), I was in Vancouver for Black Friday. I can't get over the extra sales tax in British Columbia (it's 7% vs 0% in Alberta), so I stayed out of the shops.

I visited the Calgary Anthro store last week and am happy to report that there are still lots of good deals, particularly with the extra 30% off promotion that was ongoing last week. I think that is over, although there's a 25% off sweaters promo now.

Looking at the photos, I wonder if I should have brought this top home. It's a sheer, loose fitting cotton and polyester top that fits true to size. It is loose but not boxy. The material feels kind of stiff, and it's not as drapey as I would have liked. I think it would look equally nice tucked into a pretty skirt or under a blazer.
Embroidered Tulle Tunic 
I have a huge weak spot for any kind of top with lace detailing, particularly in the shoulder area. This lightweight sweater is made of a cotton modal silk blend, which I was surprised to discover. The online reviews suggest that it is too short/awkward around the waist, but I found it fit very well. It fits true to size and just skims the body. The length is definitely a little on the shorter side but it's still very wearable. One caveat: I'd suggest buying this one in person because some of the sweaters I tried on had threads on the lacy detail that had come loose and it'd be easy to snag and damage them. There are 4 different colours, and I actually ended up buying 3 of these. I think they were a great deal for $41.
Nettie Pullover 
Florals were a big trend this fall and winter. I like how the darker colours of the Baikal Dress make it transition well into fall and winter. The material is thick and substantial, and the fit and flare shape is flattering. I like the extra coverage around the neckline, too. They were out of my usual size, so I took a size 2 and it fit well except that it was a touch loose around the waist. I am not sure if that means this dress runs small. I don't mind if a party dress is a little bit loose around the waist... more room for Christmas dinner! I think this dress would look cute with gold heels, and I also have plans to layer a chunky sweater over it for work.
Baikal Dress
I am pretty sure my husband will tell me this looks like a lace doily but I'm ok with that. This comes in two colours, the off-white pictured here and a purplish grey colour. Some of the cardigans on the rack were looking rather poorly, with loose threads and tufts of fuzz so I'm not sure how this will hold up.
Odense Crochet Topper
This dress also comes in blue and black. The tulip hem is a little bit different, and you'll be happy to know that it is sewn so that there's no chance of a wardrobe mishap. The fabric is super soft and cozy. It felt like I was wearing fleece. It fits true to size. I love this shade of red, and ended up happily taking it home with me.
Splitshade Tulip Hem Dress
Did you buy anything during Black Friday?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Climbing: Bishop

Bishop is probably one of the best winter climbing destinations in North America. It's most famous for bouldering, which consists of climbing boulders without a rope. Instead, you use a thick foam pad called a crashpad to cushion the ground if you fall off. Walking through an airport with a crashpad on my back is a sure way to attract lots of attention, and I always feel a bit silly when I explain what it is and what it's for. 

The most popular bouldering areas are the Happy Boulders in the Volcanic Tablelands, and the Buttermilks. The Happys are made of volcanic tuff and the problems there tend to be fun and gym-like with lots of pockets. The landings are flat, and there are lots of good moderate and easy problems.

A bluebird day in the Happys
The Buttermilks are made of monzonite and the problems here tend to rely more on friction and crimpy edges. When I think of the Buttermilks, I think of highballs... high boulders that are really more like cliff faces. Some of the highest boulders are 45 feet tall. I'll admit I'm more of a lowball person. I like to be able to jump or fall off at any point and not die.

Weekday bouldering in the Pollen Grains, just behind the main area in the Buttermilks
There are a few other bouldering areas near Bishop that are worth checking out. I like the Druid Stones, and they're a good place to check out on a weekend... the 45 minute approach tends to keep the crowds away. The Sad Boulders are similar to the Happys, but the good problems there are mostly out of my ability so I can't say I've climbed there much, although we had fun the one day we were there.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Outfit: California desert

I know, I know. I'm shocked too! Two jeans outfit posts in a row.

On our first trip to the Bishop area, we were delighted to find a guidebook called "Touring Hot Springs: California and Nevada". We've since been to five different hot springs in the Bishop area. We took these photos on the way to one of the hot springs. I'm not sure if it was the Sheepherder or the Crab Cooker. We got lost on the way, which is easy to do on the dirt roads that criss cross the desert.

I did not take any photos of the hot spring. It was a concrete tub that was coated with algae. If that sounds gross, it really kind of was. The only redeeming thing was that the water was very hot. I've been to other hot springs that were better maintained.  

I coerced my husband into taking these photos after we got out of the hot tub, which is why my hair looks extra crazy.

Outfit details:
Shirt: Topoxte Dropwaist Tunic, Anthropologie
Jeans: American Eagle, (similar)
Shoes: Naturalizer (similar)
Sunglasses: Oakley

Friday, November 21, 2014

Plaid in California

My husband and I just came back from a quick trip to California. We spent some time in Tahoe, which was new for both of us, and then headed down to Bishop. We spent part of our honeymoon in Bishop 6 years ago, and it was our first time back there together. It was also Jeff's 40th birthday, so we had lots of reasons to celebrate.

Along the way, we stopped at Mono Lake. It's a salty, alkaline lake that almost disappeared in the 1970s due to water from the Owens River being diverted to Los Angeles. Thanks to conservation efforts, the lake is now protected and the water levels are rising.

We didn't spend much time by the lake. We had just driven through a small blizzard, the sun was setting, and it was windy and cold! The tufas by the lake are amazing though, and I'd love to go back on a warmer day.

Outfit details:
Jacket: bought in London, UK 4 years ago (similar)
Shirt: Jacob, old (similar)
Jeans: American Eagle (similar by Michael Kors) (similar on sale, buy 1 get 50% off)
Boots: Frye Paige studded (black or brown both available)
Scarf: bought in Nepal

Monday, November 10, 2014


I am not much of an autumn person. Partly because in my neck of the woods, there's summer, winter, and maybe just a few days in between that could be considered fall.

This year was different. Autumn seemed to stretch all the way from mid-September to early November. I felt like it was actually a real season!

It was a windy day when I took these photos. I love to watch how the wind moves across the grass in ripples and waves. But it was too windy to have my hair down for very long.

I bought the Petaluma skirt on sale and have found it very difficult to style. I think looking at these photos, I'd opt for a pump with a high heel instead of the flat booties.

Outfit details:
Jacket: thrifted
Sweater: RW&Co, very old
Skirt: Anthropologie, Petaluma skirt
Shoes: Nine West, old (similar)
Bag: Burberry, Crossbody bag from last season (this season's version in house check)
Do you like fall? Do you have a favourite season?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Assiniboine and Lake Magog

I can't resist sharing more photos from our trip to Assiniboine Provincial Park. It is one of the most stunning places I've ever visited.

We camped along the west side of Lake Magog. We brought beef bourguignon stew for dinner, along with a bottle of wine and it was so delicious after a long day of hiking. I always sleep well when camping. There is something magical about falling asleep in the cool night air with the stars overhead and the sounds of the forest. A word of advice: do not keep any food or anything strongly scented in your tent! One camper had his tent tipped over by a grizzly bear the week before we arrived; he had left snacks in his tent. 

Mt Assiniboine is often referred to as "the Matterhorn of the Rockies" because of its distinctive shape. It was first climbed in 1901 and there are several routes to the summit. 

Mt Assiniboine reflected in the waters of Lake Magog

Outfit details:
Dress: Anthropologie, Sweetwater Dress
Belt: Smart Set, old
Shoes: Nine West, old
Do you have a favourite place to visit?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Are you on Bloglovin?

Just signed up. If you're a member, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Wonder Peak

Jeff and I recently celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary with a trip into the backcountry. I had booked the trip weeks in advance, hoping to climb Mt Assiniboine. Unfortunately, it snowed so much the week before our trip that we were pretty sure the peak would be out of condition. We almost canceled the trip.

Luckily, we didn't. We had a beautiful weekend camping by the lake and hiking. The larches had just turned golden, and the weather was perfect. It does make me wonder sometimes... with climbing being our focus, what other treasures are we missing out on?

This year also happens to mark ten years since we first met. It will probably come as no surprise that we met at a climbing gym. I can't imagine my life over the last decade without my husband. We have had so many adventures and happy times together. And we've gotten through the tough times, knowing that we have each other.

Marvel Pass Viewpoint
Looking back toward the ridge
Pretty views on the way down from Wonder Peak
Outfit details:
Dress: Banana Republic, very old
Shoes: Nine West

Monday, October 20, 2014

More hound, less frock?

I haven't had many pictures of Oscar on the blog lately. He is 2 years old now and still has boundless energy. It's almost impossible to get him to stay still. Jeff took these photos at the end of the day after a long bike ride.

He's a pretty good dog. Early on, he destroyed two pairs of my shoes but he has quickly learned just to chew on his dog toys. He loves to swim, and we've found that to be one of the best ways to make him burn lots of energy. Weimaraners are often bred as hunting dogs, so we were a bit cautious about bringing him into a household with two cats. Luckily, he is very gentle with them and will even try to play with them.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

An old favourite

I just realized that The Frock and The Hound is just over a year old! Time flies...

This is not my first blog. I started writing a blog in 2003 which I've continued to maintain up until now. Back in the day, it was fairly well-read and saw lots of traffic. But for various reasons, I made it private about three years ago though, and although some of my faithful readers still comment, that blog is more like a historical archive for me.

Over the past year, I feel like I've struggled to find my place in the style/fashion blogging community. There are so many different blogs out there, ranging from ladies like Khatu, who make their own clothing; to Yentina, who is always sharing her amazing vintage finds; to Nicole Warne, who is involved in high-end collaborations with Louis Vuitton and other designers. I still don't know what my voice is or what my purpose/motivation for blogging is.

I do know that I have really appreciated interacting with all of the lovely people who have commented on my blog or who have engaged in discussion with me on their own blogs.

I thought some photos of an outfit featuring something old and something new would be a good way to celebrate my (belated) 1 year blog anniversary. I've had this white shirt for almost 10 years, and it is a comforting, reliable favourite. I paired it with a Zara skirt from this spring.

Outfit details:
Shirt: Propaganda, Plen+y, very old
Skirt: Zara, Guipure Lace Pencil Skirt (only available in black now)
Shoes: Aerosoles, old
Purse: Banana Republic, old
This mural has been up for a few months, making what would normally be an ugly plywood barrier surrounding a construction site something unique and beautiful. But also temporary. I passed by the site last week and to my surprise and sadness, it had been pulled down.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Still more reviews...

Lots of markdowns this past week! Also, in case you missed it, Anthropologie is running a free shipping over $150 promotion as well as a 15% off full-priced dresses offer. 

I tried on this long, sleeveless cardigan. It's made of a delicate knit fabric and the pattern inside is black and white stripes. You could also wear it inside out if you took the tags off. It seemed comfy and laid-back but with fall and winter coming, I need sleeves.  

Carriere cardigan
Next, I tried on the Aven Dress by Tracey Reese. There are three colour schemes on the website, including this one in green, a black and white motif and a solid orange version. It's quite low cut in the front, and I'm wearing a tank underneath. It is made of a soft, drapey jersey fabric and fits true to size. The ties at the waist are not long enough to tie in a double knot or bow. I think this would look cute with tights and a cardigan.
Aven dress
I also tried on the Lavendel dress. I fell in love with this dress after seeing it on Cynthia and Marcy's blog. The pattern is very cute, with big splashes of colour and polka dots. The hips are poofy but in a good way. It's strapless, but there is a built-in bra that makes it feel secure and supportive. Just as a heads up, this dress is dry clean only. I found it fit true-to-size.

Lavendel dress
This shirt comes in a few colours including grey, blue and green. It ties up with a bow in the back, as the name would suggest. It's made of cotton, but I found the fabric kind of stiff and stretchy. It does hang nicely though. The details are printed on the shirt rather than embroidered.

Brilliant Bowknot Tee
Here's what I ended up taking home, which is quite different from my usual style. I think I liked the orangey red with blue polka dots because it reminds me of a dress my mom used to wear in the 1970s (but in a good way). I just wish that the pattern lined up at the seams! It fits true-to-size, and it has pockets. The fabric is sturdy and I think the colour will transition well to fall and winter. I wore it to work this week with a cardigan. Unfortunately, I think between Monday and now it has sold out as I can't find the name anywhere on the website.

With it being Thanksgiving in Canada and Columbus Day in the U.S., there are lots of good sales this weekend. Are you on hunt for anything in particular?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Edith Cavell: The Climb and Another Outfit

I have a huge backlog of posts. Life has been busy! I'm not sure that October is looking much better...

I wanted to share some photos of climbing Edith Cavell. Unfortunately, it snowed quite a bit the week before our attempt and we got about halfway up before turning back. On the drive home, my husband mentioned a statistic that success rates in alpine climbing are usually only about 1/7... which I totally disputed until I thought about my climbing history and realized, disappointingly, that he's right. I guess sometimes it really is more about the journey.

The views were pretty amazing. I took this photo looking back towards the highway. The grey clouds in the distance are not the most comforting sight when you're halfway up a big mountain. It started raining/snowing about 15 minutes after we got back down.

Most of the first part of the climb consisted of scrambling over blocky rocks. As we got higher, we started to find big drifts of loose, unconsolidated snow. 

We climbed back down the same way we had come up. The guidebook lists an alternate descent route if you make it to the summit that essentially involves walking almost all the way around the mountain. If you're comfortable with downclimbing, I think this way is a lot faster.

This little guy greeted us when we got back down to the morraine. It's a marmot! He seemed to have no fear and walked right up to us and started nibbling on a patch of grass.

My husband took these photos at the Jasper Park Lodge the day before. The dress is Anthropologie from last summer, and my husband thinks it looks like a vintage tablecloth. I have to admit, I do find this dress kind of frumpy. I'm not sure if it's because of the length, the shape or the thick frilly border at the bottom.

Outfit details:
Dress: Anthropologie Mallorca Midi Dress
Shoes: Nine West, old

Saturday, September 27, 2014

And... still more reviews

Went back to the store this week and was happy to see that there's an additional 25% markdown on all sale items. The sales associate very kindly gave me a price adjustment on the Sweetwater Dress, which I wore last weekend with a belt (and it worked, so for $75, I am pretty pleased).

I tried on the Petaluma skirt first. This skirt came out quite a few weeks ago and there were only two left on the rack. Luckily, they had my size, although I found that this skirt fit looser around the waist than I would have liked. I was surprised by how heavy the skirt is. This is definitely a piece that would transition well into winter, maybe with tights and little booties. The edges of the rosettes are unfinished but they seem to have held up well given how many people probably tried this on the store. It's not uncomfortable to sit down in, something I wanted to trial because I've been burned buying sequined, beaded or otherwise embellished bottoms in the past and not being able to sit in them! I ended up buying this at full price.
Petaluma Skirt
I also tried the Tanith Dress. It is very stretchy, and I found I had to do some work to adjust the neckline so that it wasn't gaping and showing my bra. I also didn't like how the seams at the waist are lumpy. Pass.
Tanith Dress
I had to do some searching to find the name of this Maeve tunic. It's apparently from Spring 2014. It's made of rayon but feels nice to the touch and hangs nicely. It has a drawstring at the waist but I think it looks better loose. It fits true to size and was priced at $49.95 so with the extra 25% off, I couldn't pass it up.
Topoxte Dropwaist Tunic
This is a full price item that shows up in the most recent catalog. The white fabric is gauzy and see- through so you'd have to wear another top underneath. The embroidery is lovely. The sleeves and bodice fit true to size and the fit is very flattering. I did not like how the pleats at the waist are kind of stiff and sit away from the body. Passed on this one as well.

Ibis Peasant Blouse
This was another sale item. I couldn't find the name anywhere. The length is kind of awkward, in between a really short dress or a really long top. It's also kind of boxy, especially around the waist. Normally I'm not a fan of puffed sleeves, but these are not too extreme. I almost ended up buying this since it is quite different from anything else I own, but I couldn't figure out what I would pair it with.

And finally, I figured I would give the Libby dress a second chance and actually try it on. I think my original verdict still stands. I don't like the pattern, and the fabric is very thin. But I will say that it looked nicer on than it did on the hanger. Despite being very clingy, the busy pattern also seems to do a good job of hiding little lumps and bumps. I like the knee length too. I should also mention that there is a tight band around the bottom of each sleeve, and it was cutting into my arm just above the elbow. Apart from that, it fits true to size.

Libby Dress