Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Retail Therapy

The only way to end a horrendous week is to indulge in a proper retail therapy session.  I walked in to the mall on Friday evening, half alive and fully intending to fill the emotional void with beautiful, unnecessary items. 

I figured it was better than eating my feelings. 

I had been coveting these lovely floral J-Brands for some time, and couldn't wait to get them into my closet.

Unfortunately, my dreams were swiftly crushed when I realized that they looked much cuter on the model.  I was annoyed to discover that they are a true capri length and, as such, hit my calf in the wrong place.  They were also a much different fit than the standard J-brand 811 skinny.  I found that the rise was a bit lower.  No bueno.

I still can't get them out of my mind, though.  Like a bad ex-boyfriend.  So, naturally, I have taken the liberty of fantasizing about how I'd enjoy them, if someday it did work out. 

Casual look.  Wilfred chambray top, J-Brand pant, Rachel Comey boots.

I ended up compromising on these rose skinnies.  One of the reasons I chose them is that they are a slightly darker pink than the pastels that are so popular this season.  It'll make them easier to wear in the fall with boots and a sweater while still being very on-trend for this spring/summer.

Pink J-Brand 811 midrise skinnies paired with my Wilfred Chevalier blazer

Seriously people, I can't say enough about the 811's, they are my go-to pant.  They are made of a super comfy, luxurious twill with just the right amont of stretch.  And my favorite thing about this pant is that they are a mid-rise.  They hold everything in place and give you a smooth silhouette without being Mom-ish.

Needless to say, I left the mall, bags in hand, feeling temporarily relieved.  This pretty much sums up my sentiment.

Check back soon for a post on summer tops and the rest of my retail therapy haul.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Be Done With It

I've just finished what was one of the worst weeks I can remember.  Car accident, family drama, health issues, home repairs and other disappointments all over the span of 7 days.  I'm ready for a new week!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

John Mayer: Born and Raised

While we're on the subject of John Mayer, there's one thing I can't ignore...

John Mayer circa 2010

John Mayer, May 2012

What happened? 

Ok, I get the hat, I really do.  But paired with weak mustache and Canadian tuxedo, it's really a sad combination.  As Perez so eloquently put it, he's looking a bit like a drugged-up Crocodile Dundee version of Johnny Depp. 

Who am I kidding?  I still find him attractive.  Whatever. 

I've been a John Mayer fan since Day One.  In fact, Continuum happens to be my favourite album of all time.   It's rare that every track on an album is life changing.  Understandably, I was anxiously awaiting the release of his new album, Born and Raised, which was just released on Tuesday.

Much is being said right now about the negative attention he garnered a couple of years ago (see 'sexual napalm') and his newly reformed persona.  He was definitely slimy and over-exposed in 2010 but recently admitted that he got sick of himself and had the good sense to stay out of the public eye for a while.  I'm glad he's back, humbled, and finally allowing his talent to speak for itself.  'Born and Raised' doesn't disappoint.  It is very honest and relatable.  I'm all about the lyrics and John Mayer is truly a master in this respect.

Tracks worth downloading (though I totally recommending the whole thing):

  • 'Born and Raised' - by far my favorite on the album.
Then all at once it gets hard to take
It gets hard to fake what I won't be
Cause one of these days I'll be born and raised
And it's such a waste to grow up lonely
  •  'Fool to Love You' - every JM album has at least one sappy love song. This is it.
Fool me once, it's shame on you
But twice, it's shame on me
But fool me baby for the rest of my life
And I'll be happy, happy as a broken man can be
  • 'A Face to Call Home' - okay, this one's sappy too.
You know my paper heart
The one I filled with pencil marks
I think I might've gone and inked you in
Have a listen, people!

But John, though I forgive you for all of those douchey things you said in Rolling Stone, I'm still mad at you for breaking poor Taylor Swift's teenage heart.  I do, however, immensely enjoy the angsty song she wrote about you. So I guess we're even.

Also, I saw on Ellen that he is now living in Bozeman, Montana, which isn't THAT far from here. Road trip, anyone?

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

2012 Billboard Music Awards: Country Style

Which country starlet looked better: Carrie Underwood or Taylor Swift?

Not trying to hate on Carrie, but it's pretty obvious who pulled this one off.   Carrie's look obnoxiously screams "sparkles and fairytales" and might be better on an 8 year old.  At least she's not wearing a tiara (though the clutch is equally offensive).

Carrie Underwood in Oscar de la Renta

Taylor Swift in Elie Saab

Taylor, on the other hand, is freaking perfection!  This girl can do no wrong.  And I'm loving the ashy blond she's been rocking lately.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Lady-like Dressing

I have to admit that I prefer slouchy and slightly grungy clothing to more structured pieces.  Being tall and relatively straight, I feel especially awkward when I'm robed in body-con shapes and shoulder-restricting tops. 
I would say my general preferences lie directly opposite of anything Kim Kardashian would wear.

These days, I don't even attempt the form-fitting feminine look and opt instead for stylishly slouchy and draped attire, accentuating my non-existent waist with a belt or tie whenever possible.  I also have an aversion to bright colors... they make me feel like an overgrown toddler.  If I didn't have a real job or a boyfriend I would probably dress like a cross between an Olsen twin and a homeless person.

My best friend is getting married this summer and with that comes a number of events (bridal shower, bachelorette weekend, rehersal dinner, etc.) that will require me to dress like a real grown-ass lady.  This doesn't come naturally to me, but I've selected a few dresses that constitute a happy medium between Olsen bag-lady and Rachel Berry. 

What not to wear.

I really, really, REALLY regret not buying a Rebecca Taylor dress last summer... in 2011 she had several leopard print styles that I was losing my shit over.  This season, not as obsessed, but this little number caught my eye...

Rebecca Taylor faux wrap dress in Citrus

I spotted this calf-length dress Aritzia the other day, in person the color is really unusual and pretty.  The midi length gives an extra element of ladyishness.

Wilfred Ashina wrap dress in Miste

Of course I like good maxi... and this Charlie Jade style (available at Holt Renfrew) even has a hint of leopard print.  Not sure if this one would would fare well for a wild bachelorette night out though, probably more of a day piece. 

Charlie Jade Diana maxi

Oh, and let's not forget the accessories, this Stella and Dot statement necklace has been the object of my affection for some time now.  Paired with my Nine West ankle strap sandals and some kick-ass cat-eye sunnies, these will kick any summer dress up a notch.

Stella and Dot necklace, Nine West sandals, House of Harlow 1960 sunnies

This search is by no means over -- more to come!

Now, friends, tell me which dress do you prefer?

Have you come across any nuggets of dress perfection this season?

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

My Thoughts on Emily's Season of the Bachelorette

The Bachelorette is my guilty pleasure.  I hate to admit it, but I live for Monday nights.

To me, Emily is perfection.  The girl is gorgeous.  On top of that, she seems sweet, classy and genuine.  I guess my expectations are low following past-season twits like Ashley and Ben.  A part of me almost thinks she's too good for this dirtbag show.  Almost.  Emily, if anything, please don't fall for the villian and make the world hate you.  Please, for Ricki!

The beautiful Emily.  I hope those boobs aren't fake, but they probably are.

Surprisingly enough, my boyfriend, C, is just as into The Bachelorette as I am.  I'm pretty sure that means he's the manliest man ever.  At the start of every season we choose our top 3.  The person that guesses the winner (or closest to) owes the other dinner at the end of the season.  I'm the reigning champion, two seasons in a row... but who's counting, right? 

The formula is simple.  The best looking people usually win.  Just like real life!

So, with that, here are my picks:

Charlie.  He's beefy - I like that.  Also, something about a traumatic brain injury.

Ryan, a.k.a. Jaws.  Ex-pro football player and I think she digs his Southern accent (I sure do).

Arie. A racecar driver. Enough said! 

C's picks (we both love Arie so much, we're sharing him!):

Doug.  Single father of the year?
Sean.  Didn't really say much, but C "had a feeling". Ha.

Honorable mention goes to Jef with one F.  He's the alt hipster-type but came off as a pretty down to earth cool dude.  And there was a ton of footage of him making out with Emily in the promo reel which leads me to believe that she keeps him around for a while.  The dark horse - I love it.

Skateboarding, charity-loving, Ray-Ban wearing CEO.

If you are a true rose lover like me, you're gonna want to read this recap.  It's the cheekiest, most entertaining thing you'll read all week.  Perfect for procrastinating at the office.

I'm planning to do a weekly post on my Bachelorette thoughts.  And I'm trying my hardest to avoid all the spoilers that are out there.  I want to be surprised!  Hopefully I can still stand Emily by the end of this thing.

Who are your picks? 

What do you think of Emily?

Inner City Oasis

This is why I love Calgary...

I took this photo during my run at the Glenmore Reservoir on Sunday. I love that it feels like I'm in the middle of nowhere when I'm only 10 minutes away from my house.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Fit Friday: Speed Intervals

I'm officially on the home stretch for my 10K race.  T minus 2 weeks! 

This is the first time I've actually followed a prescribed training program and I have to say that I have noticed a marked improvement in my pace.  Once a week I do speed intervals - they're dreadful!  They really push me out of my comfort zone, but as we all know, that is where the best results are achieved.  

I programmed the intervals into my RunKeeper app on my iPhone ahead of time.  If you don't have this already, get it.  It's free and works exactly like the Garmin GPS watch that I bought for $300 last year.  Actually, it's better because it talks to you, tells you when to speed up, when to slow down, how many kilometers you've covered and what your pace is.  It also plays your music and tracks all of your runs and routes.  All the images in this post are from my RunKeeper account.
I hesitate to post recommendations for pace at each interval, because everyone is so different.  The key is to challenge yourself, your "fast" pace should be your max for that interval length. You should not be able to keep going at that speed... you should need that rest! 

I chose my favorite lunchtime route along the south bank of the beautiful Bow River.  Steps away from my office, no lights, no crossings, just straight path the whole way. 

Speed Interval Pyramid 

(All recoveries are 1 min jogging)

3 min warm up (jog)


4 x 1:10 fast


2 x 2:20 fast


1 x 4:30 fast


2 x 2:20 fast


4 x 1:10 fast


5 min cool down (jog)

A summary of my workout is below... I generally run at a race pace that is just under 6:00 min / km so this will give you an idea of what pace is appropriate for each interval.

With the warm up and cool down, this took me 43:50.  I covered just shy of 7 km.

And my delicious post-run lunch: chicken and quinoa over mixed greens and veggies.  Yum!

Charred Chicken Salad from Health Fare

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Summer Shoes

I finally indulged in a much-needed pedicure last night.  I had been holding off on this post until I could get my tootsies in photo-worthy shape.  I opted for OPI GelColor in 'Suzi Says Feng Shui', a cobalt blue.

Any self-respecting woman has at least as many pairs of shoes as she has panties.  A shoe can make or break an outfit and one must have the appropriate shoe for every occasion.  You can't go wearing flip flops with your new party dress, now can you?  Well, you can, but please don't.

The best time to update your shoe wardrobe is in Spring and Fall.  The start of these key seasons offer a fresh selection of new trends.  And for us large-footed ladies, the best selection of sizes are available during these times as well.  I've got size 10s, so I need to get 'em while they last.

I have been scouring the shelves for the last few months and have found the 3 must-have styles for Spring/Summer 2012.

The Oxford

I love this suede colour block style by DV Dolce Vita.  They're super comfy and offer a hint of subtle androgyny to any wardrobe.  I wear mine when walking to work or to meetings across downtown.  They also look great with boyfriend jeans for a weekend look... move over ballet flats, you have competition! 


The Archer Sandal

I wasn't sold on these puppies (also DV Dolce Vita) at first glance, but when I tried them on I knew I had to have them.  Elegant simplicity.  The gold detail on the toe is divine and I can't wait to pair them with denim cutoffs or a maxi.  This is truly the "it" shoe for Summer 2012.

The Ankle Strap Sandal

If there's one shoe trend I'm into this season, it's the ankle strap.  It bumps the sexiness factor up a notch without looking cheap.  Unexpectedly, these Nine West lovelies work with shorts, a skirt and even pants.  This particular style has a thicker heel (easier to walk!) and comes in a versatile nude shade (elongates the leg!).  Win-win, people.  These are on track to be my go-to summer staple. 

Sunday, 6 May 2012

The Perfect Blouse

I recently discovered a piece of absolute perfection: the Equipment Femme 'Signature' silk blouse.

This oversized button-down comes in a variety of solid colors and tasteful prints, many of which are animal inspired (my fave).  It's not cheap, but this is a versatile piece that will be in heavy closet rotation.

I had been eyeing this blouse for a while and obsessing over whether I should get a solid or print.  I eventually went with the semi-sheer Cedar Tortoise, because (a) I love it and (b) a print is more forgiving of stains (i.e. less trips to the dry cleaner). 
{This silk is so delicate that even a drop of water makes a spot.  Everything shows.  I have this same issue with all of my silk Wilfred pieces.  I swear I'm putting my dry-cleaning lady's kids through post-secondary.  The tortoise print hides imperfections well and the neutral color palette works with pretty much anything.}

Equipment Femme blouse paired with Current/Elliot boyfriend jeans and Nine West sandals

This luxurious top is slouchy and put-together at the same time. It can be worn to the office or on the weekend for a comfy but stylish look. It works tucked, untucked, belted, tied, open or closed. Truly an essential piece for any wardrobe.

Versatility demonstrated by Style Me Grasie

In Calgary, Equipment Femme is sold at Coco and Violet boutique on 4th Street SW and at Holt Renfrew

Friday, 4 May 2012

Rules of Project Management and Making "Big Girl" Decisions

Happy Friday everyone!  I wanted to share a couple of photos with you before we get down to business.  I am really feeling the bright colors this season, especially the hot pink/orange.  No idea what it's actually called, but I'm into it!

Loving my new gym bag (TNAction, here)

Abstract art in my office tower lobby.
Love that it matches my bag!

I am a professional engineer and work as a project manager on large industrial projects.  It's a far cry from fitness and fashion but it satisfies my need for control and, well, for lack of a more eloquent description, I like bossing people around.  In a nice way, of course.  

As in all areas of my life, I am constantly striving to improve.  I like formulaic rules of thumb that I can apply when I need to tackle complex problems or make firm decisions.  When it comes to things like real estate, career moves and investments, it's better to rely on facts and numbers than on emotions. 

A colleague of mine shared these 3 rules a while ago and they have helped me not only in my job, but I have also applied them in many "grown-up" life situations.  They have helped me gain the trust and respect of others.  Turns out people are more willing to listen to (and believe) you when you give off the impression that you know your shit.

  1. Make informed decisions

  2. Cover your ass

  3. Always have a 'Plan B'

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Monthly Happiness Resolutions

Happy May everyone!  It's finally starting to look like spring in Calgary; green grass, tulips and lots of geese.  A little soggy this week, but at least it's not snow!

After reading The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin last year, I was inspired to make a monthly resolution for each month in 2012.  At the start of each month, I choose one thing to focus on that I feel will contribute to my overall happiness.  I like to keep it simple, just a few words - often a quote or catch phrase - that reminds me of what I am after.  It doesn't need to mean anything to anyone else but you.

Now, it's been said that one change a week equals 52 changes in a year, but that seemed a bit overwhelming for me.  Once a month seemed more attainable.  Twelve changes is just fine for this year. 

The key is to hold on to the behaviours after the month ends.  It's easier than it sounds.  I find that after constantly reminding myself of the resolution every day for a month, it almost becomes second nature.

Here's what I've been up to so far in 2012:


January:  "Want what you have"


February:  "Give people a break"


March:  "If you're not into it, get into it"


April: "Be nice"


And for May:


"Let it go"


"Let it go" applies to more than one situation in my life right now.  Admittedly, I am a grudge-holder.  It drains me and I want to work on forgiving and forgetting.  It will be the most challenging resolution yet.

I post my resolutions in my office so I am reminded every day of what my goals are.

What would some of your happiness resolutions be?