Monday, January 27, 2014

Reviews: Anthropologie January 2014

This is my first attempt at a reviews series and I'm using an iPhone 3 so please excuse the poor quality photos...

Rococo tee
Silk racerback cami
Flounced ponte pencil skirt
I asked one of the sales associates for help putting together an outfit for Valentine's Day and this is what she came up with.

The Rococo tee looks cute in the picture, but it felt huge and boxy on me in real life.  It is very sheer, and the sales associate gave me the black silk racerback cami to layer underneath.  I gave the Rococo tee a pass but would probably have picked up the cami if I'd needed more layering staples, which I don't.

I loved the flounced ponte pencil skirt.  It comes in red and black, and it consists of crisscrossing panels of relatively stiff, textured fabric with a ruffle at the bottom.  I tried it on in XS and thought it was very flattering, and fit true to size.  I will try to hold out for a sale but may end up paying full price for this one.

Margot dress
The Margot dress looked cute on the hanger.  It has pink panels on the side which I am covering with my arms (oops).  The chest was way too loose, even in an XS, so it went back to the rack.

Stripe swing dress
I had better luck with the stripe swing dress.  It's made of stretchy, soft material and I love the sweetheart neckline.  If you are ordering online, it's important to note that the pattern on each dress is slightly different.  I was also disappointed to note that the pattern didn't match up at the seams.  Also planning on waiting for sale on this one.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Online Shopping for Canadians: Part 3

I used to spend a lot of time in Edmonton, and Gravity Pope was one of my favourite shops.  Fortunately, they now also have stores in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto.  I bought the Pumas I'm wearing in this post at Gravity Pope.  They carry fashionable and whimsical shoes, clothing and accessories.

Current picks from the website:

Peter Jensen Brontosaurus sweater
Paul Smith Black dress

Line sweater, currently on sale

Rick Owens Lilies skirt
Frye Paige boots

Pros:
-great customer service.  I ordered a pair of Frye boots once (actually, the Paige boots above) and almost immediately received an email with photos attached.  The customer service rep noticed that the only pair left in my size was the display model in the store and that there was some very slight wear on the sole, so they emailed to doublecheck that I wouldn't mind.
-shipping is via Canada Post, and there is no duty
-huge selection of shoes and clothing
-the clothing tends to be on the pricey side but it is high quality and there are often sales (like now!)

Cons:
-no free shipping unless you spend $300 ($500 for international orders)
-you have to return within 3 days of receipt if you want a refund (14 days for store credit or exchange)
-can't return in store
-the website would greatly benefit from filters

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Online shopping for Canadians: Part 2

The next website in my series is a bit of an anomaly.  Plen+y is a Canadian-based retailer that only ships within Canada.  I went to university in Vancouver, and spent way too much money at their Broadway and Macdonald location.  They carry brands like Gentle Fawn, Free People and Maison Scotch, but I really love them for their in-house labels labels: Propaganda, Monk & Lou, Big Blue and Ribbon/Ribbon Luxe.  They are well-made, classic and very affordable.  I am wearing a Propaganda shirt and tank in this post  and a Monk & Lou blazer in this post.

Some current picks from the website:

Hugo Contrast top

Silk Fallen dress

Melville sweater coat

Turner coat

Riya Pleat skirt


Pros:
-as mentioned above, really great for basics
-free shipping over $100 (they do also have free shipping promotions fairly often)
-quick shipping if you live in Western Canada.  They ship with Canada Post.
-can return in store or by mail
-up to 40 days for returns

Cons:
-limited selection online compared to what you can find in store
-their sizing can be a bit weird.  I've never been able to find a pair of pants there that fit me properly (the thighs are always too tight)
-clunky website.  For example, there's no "View all" option so you end up having to click through each page to browse
-there's currently a 50% off promotion... in stores only

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Online shopping for Canadians: Part 1

I recently had my first request for a post from a reader, asking me to write about online shopping for Canadians.  I would say I buy about 20% of my purchases online, whether that's shoes, clothing or books.

My first foray into online shopping was on the Banana Republic website.  I like Banana Republic for buying classic work staples, and they occasionally have some very pretty and versatile dresses.  Some picks from the website:


Pros:
-designated site for Canadians with prices in Canadian dollars
-free shipping if you spend at least $50
-quick shipping time.  I live in Calgary and usually see my purchases within 2-3 business days.
-easy returns (can mail back or return in store, if you are like me and paranoid about Canada Post losing things)
-frequent sales.  Right now there is a 35% off promotion.
-consistent sizing
-if you shop through the Aeroplan eStore, you can earn Aeroplan points
-great customer service via email (price adjustments given easily, quick response time)

Cons:
-the prices on the U.S. and Canadian sites do not reflect the exchange rate.  As an example, the Geo Overlay dress on the American site is $150, whereas on the Canadian site, it's $185. Using the exchange rate even when the Canadian dollar slumped a few days ago, it should be more like $165 Canadian
-the American site also has more items than the Canadian site
-there have been times when I've noticed that the prices online and in store differ significantly, usually related to markdowns

Do you shop online? What are your favourite stores?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Starters and sun crust

Back to Rogers' Pass this weekend.  This time, Jeff and I decided to drive out to Golden on Friday night so that we could hit the slopes bright and early.

Instead, we woke up on Saturday morning and Jeff's truck wouldn't start.  It turns out that water somehow got into the starter and froze.  Luckily, the issue was easy enough to fix but it meant Saturday was a write-off.

On Sunday, we decided to head out to Glacier Crest.  We found ourselves on what is quite possibly the worst uptrack on Earth at this particular moment in time.  The switchbacks were all rounded and slippery, and the track was ridiculously steep.

We got in a few good turns near the top despite some wind slab and sun crust.

A splitboarder getting some air near the top of Glacier Crest

And then, we were into the trees.  Tight, steep trees interspersed with death cookies.  

Hopefully next weekend is better.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dressing for dinner

It's been a long time since I posted an outfit, but I remembered to take a photo before going out for dinner on New Year's Eve (mmm, meat candy).

I'm wearing Anthropologie's Jeweled Dragonfly Dress.  This dress can be worn strapless (as seen on the website) or there are thin fabric straps that you can attach to the dress.  I feel like wearing this dress strapless would be inviting a wardrobe malfunction.

You can check out our reading habits in the background.
Outfit details:
Dress: Floreat's Jeweled Dragonfly Dress, Anthropologie
Blazer: Monk & Lou, Plen+y
Tights: last year, Banana Republic
Shoes: Nine West, similar here
Necklace: Barefoot Contessa Boutique, Vancouver

Friday, January 10, 2014

Shredding the gnar

While most of North America was shivering in a polar vortex, I went skiing.

I only made one New Year's Resolution this year, and that was to ski a ton.  We're going to Fairy Meadow in February, one of the best backcountry ski destinations in western Canada.  I've been there once in the summer and I'm so excited to be making a winter trip... but that also means I'm going to have to get into really good shape.

Both Jeff and I had the weekend off, so we made the 4-hour drive to Rogers' Pass.  Normally, the backcountry is peaceful and quiet so it was a surprise when we pulled into the visitor centre parking lot and discovered dozens of people, many of whom were there to partake in a splitboard festival.

We skied McGill shoulder on the first day.  There was lots of fresh snow and we were a bit worried about triggering an avalanche, but the snowpack was actually more stable than I'd expected.  We were still very conservative in terms of what we chose to ski.

Trees loaded down with snow.  Plus my stylish husband.  Neon on neon is all the rage, don't you know.
On the second day, we decided to go to Loop Brook.  I've skied here in the past and gotten stuck in the alders on the way down, but the snow cover this time was actually pretty decent.

A party ahead of us on the morraine
Beautiful views back towards the creek and the highway
Unfortunately, I have no photos of the gnar shredding.  My camera decided to die just as we got to the top of the uptrack.  But I'm happy to report that the skiing was great, and we'll be back soon.

In the meantime, I'm busy searching for a new pair of ski bibs.  I've skied with an old pair from MEC for the past 10 years, and am sick of what I perceive to be its two serious flaws.  #1: The suspenders have no quick release mechanism, so to pee you have to take off your jacket and then slip the straps down over your shoulders.  Or, you have to ski with your straps over your jacket (and then they get snagged on tree branches or slide down).  #2: There are no gaiters, and although the cuffs have a snap on them, they don't fit over my boots when they're not done up.

I made a trip to Banff today and there are way more ski bib options for guys, although overall, the trend for men and women seems to be pants.  Not sure how all the people wearing pants keep snow out of their back, or why they don't get annoyed by the waistband digging in.  So far, the front runners would be Patagonia Men's Super Alpine Bibs, or the Arcteryx Women's Theta SV, but I'm still searching for the perfect size.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Better late than never...

Is it too late to post a look back at 2013?

2013 was the year that we said goodbye to our 13 year old Weimaraner, Baron.  He is missed.
 
Baron at Wreck Beach in Vancouver
2013 was also the year that much of our city and the surrounding areas ended up under water.  I guess we were lucky; we only had water in our basement.  As far as I can tell we didn't lose anything irreplaceable, although every once in a while I will be looking for something and then realize that it was in the basement and must have been thrown out (ie my mom's 40-year old German knitting needles).

We travelled.  New York City, Switzerland, Milan, Squamish, Whistler, Vancouver and Portland.

Yoga at the Wanderlust festival in Whistler
We saw some amazing concerts: Moby, Rush and the Pet Shop Boys.  I think Moby's acoustic cover of Neil Young's Helpless was one of the best musical moments of my life.  

Moby in the park
We also ate some amazing food.  The highlights included a wonderful meal at Ava Gene's in Portland, and Carino Bistro here in Calgary.  And of course, we finished off 2013 with an amazing New Year's Eve dinner at Vero Bistro featuring Jamon Iberico de Bellota.

Meat candy
This was also the year that I started this blog.  I have not been the most regular poster, but I'm hoping that will change in 2014.