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.