Photo of the Day

It’s cold today. I think Mother Nature is laughing at us and thinking “Do you really think I’m going to let you off that easy?” I hate the cold. I want to feel a warm sea breeze messing up my hair and to lick the salty ocean off my lips. I want to be somewhere warm and sunny. I want to be in this photo; running up the dock, ready to do a cannon ball and splash as high as I can.

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Travel Tuesday: Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris

Bonjour mon amis! Happy Travel Tuesday. As I mentioned in a previous post, Paris has far too many wonderful aspects to fit everything into one blog post so I am slowing breaking down my three trips there into multiple posts. Today I am going to tell you about the Jardin du Luxembourg. The Jardin du Luxembourg is the second largest public park in Paris and is located in the 6th arrondissement. It is a beautiful park, which makes you feel like you are no longer in the heart of Paris, rather, that you are on a French estate, in the countryside. I am assuming that that is precisely what Marie de Medici intended when she commisoned it in 1611. Marie was the widow of Henry IV and the regent for the King Louis XIII. She decided that she wanted to build a palace in imitation of the Pitti Palace in her native Florence.

She commissioned Salomon de Brosse to build the palace and a fountain, which still exists (the the photo of the Medici Fountain below). In 1612 she planted 2,000 elm trees, and directed a series of gardeners, most notably Tommaso Francini, to build a park in the style she had known as a child in Florence.

Today the palace in home to the French Senate and the park is open to the public. Children can often be found racing motor sailboats in the fountains, or running around in the grass. People come to sunbathe in the chairs surrounding the water, or to picnic in the grass amongst the statues. It’s a wonderful retreat after being immersed in the city all day. We stopped by a little shop on our way in and bought a box of decadent macaroons and a bottle of champagne to enjoy as the late afternoon sun shone down on us. It was a perfect Parisian moment, the kind that you need to savour so you can remember it when you’re back in your office, typing away at home. If only everyday consisted of macaroons and champagne in a Parisian park.

Awards Season 2012: The Oscar’s

So, the Oscar’s were last night. What did everyone think? I found them pretty boring, the red carpet pre-shows too, which is kind of disappointing. I’d like to think I would be a much better host/interviewer than someone like Lea Miller. I think we should start a petition to have either Emma Stone or Melissa McCarthy host next year’s show. I can almost guarantee you it would be fantastic. Those women were the highlight of the show for me. Emma Stone played her bit so well, you would have thought she was high or drunk (but in a good way)! Octavia Spencer’s speech after winning best supporting actress made be tear up a bit too, I love when people are that genuine and grateful to win. My awards show festivities were fun, here’s a glimpse of what my evening entailed:

 

 Now for the good stuff. The fashion. Who did you guys think was the best dressed last night? While there were quite a few pretty dresses, there weren’t too many people who knocked it out of the ball park for me. If I had to pick my absolute favourite gown, I would probably choose Octavia Spencer’s with Milla Jovovich coming in a close second. Here are my picks for best dressed last night:

Octavia Spencer looked GORGEOUS in a crystal-embellished Tadashi Shoji

Kate Mara in Jack Guisso Couture

The incredible Mellisa McCarthy in Marina Rinaldi

Sandra Bullock in a draped Marchesa gown

Milla Jovovich looked stunning in Elie Saab Couture

Gwyneth Paltrow in white Tom Ford (with a cape!)

Michelle Williams in a peplum Louis Vuitton

My favourite past Oscar’s gowns

It’s coming. The climactic finale to awards show season. The 84th Annual Academy Awards is this Sunday, and I can’t wait to see what everyone wears on the red carpet. Does anyone have any Oscar traditions they like to partake in? Do you host an Oscar party? For me, I like to live tweet and drink champagne while I watch. Social media and bubbly, can’t pick a better combo than that right! What I love about the Oscars is the formality. It’s not like the Grammy’s, or MTV Music Awards where people feel this inane need to dress over the top, wild and ridiculous. The Oscars are a classy, black tie affair and the dresses are often the kind of gowns you could only ever wear in your dreams, and a girl can dream. In preparation for Sunday’s television event I’ve decided to show you some of my all time favourite dresses from Oscar’s past. If I had to pick my absolute favourite I would have to say it would be Mila Kunis’s pale lilac and lace Elie Saab. Can you imagine a more ethereal, beautiful gown than that? If that were mine it would be the type of dress I constantly pulled out of my closet to retry on, over and over again. It was just that special to me. Here are some of the other gowns that have made me swoon in the past. Don’t forget to check back Monday, when I recap my NEW favourite gowns for this years’ festivities. Any predictions for bessed dressed?

 

 

 

Friday Roundup

 Happy Friday, and if you’re here in Edmonton like me, welcome back to winter. Lots of snow out there this morning. Because of how nice this winter has been, I’m much less jaded and can see the beauty in a fluffy snowfall, it makes everything so pretty. Let me tell you however, I cannot wait for summer. I miss my sundresses and wedges! I’m in a class all weekend, so I’m not really looking forward to my weekend unfortunately, I’m moping over the fact that I’m not going to sleep past 7 a.m. for 12 days. I love my sleep. Oh well, hopefully I’ll be smarter after this weekend hahaha. Here are my favourite pins this week:

Favourite photo:

Best breakfast idea for your weekend:

Blissful vacation spot:

Favourite flower (peonie):

Favourite shoe (Ralph Lauren):

 

 

J. Crew confirms an Edmonton store!

J. Crew has officially announced that they will be opening up an Edmonton store!!!! I cannot tell you how excited this makes me. I LOVE J. Crew. Like a lot, a lot. The high-profile U.S. chain will be opening up shop in West Edmonton Mall later this spring and is one of three new Canadian stores they will be opening (Vancouver and Toronto will also be getting one).

 “Since introducing the brand in Canada last year, the response to J. Crew has been absolutely electric,” said Jenna Lyons, President and Creative Director of J. Crew in a press release this morning.  “We’re excited to be opening combined men’s and women’s stores and are working to curate our high quality fashion collections for each market.”

J. Crew sells an assortment of women’s, men’s and children’s apparel and accessories, including swimwear, outerwear, loungewear, wedding, bags, hair accessories, belts, jewelry, and shoes.

I can’t wait for the bold and bright colours, the cashmere tees and the fun accessories. Take a look at what you can expect from this awesome store:

How to: Pair cheddars and wine

I love a good cheddar cheese. Really I love any cheese, but a fantastic, aged cheddar is just perfection in my opinion. I’m not talking about the orange cheese you find in the grocery store either. Many people automatically associate cheddar with an orange cheese, but, as my mom likes to say, have you ever seen a cow with orange milk? This colour comes from dyes being added to the cheese for a change in colour (kinda gross right?). Cheddar cheese also has different flavours, which are dependent on the make of the cheese as well as the aging process.

According to the Australian Dairy Corporation, there are 13 types of cheddar cheese. I know, I was surprise too, I knew there were a few but 13 is a lot! Below are the various different types of cheddar cheese, now you‘ll sound just as smart as your cheese monger when you go to buy it!

Processed Cheddar – has a smooth texture with a uniform mild flavor, and is good for sandwiches, on vegetables, in baked goods and salads.

Cheedam – combines the characteristics of Cheddar and Edam cheeses with a fresh and mild flavor. It is used in salads, sauces and cheeseboards.

Steppen – is a firm, low-fat cheese similar to Cotto.

Double Gloucester – has a distinctive high color and a fine, tangy flavor. It is excellent on toast or on cheese boards.

Matured Cheddar – is 6 – 12 months old, and sometimes called ‘tasty’. It has a tangy flavor and is ideal for souffles and sauces.

Flavored Cheddar – is usually matured cheddar cheese with a flavor added to it, e.g. port wine, cumin, caraway seed, bacon, garlic, etc.

Cheshire – has a mild, slightly acidic flavor or a more pronounced flavor depending on age. It is an ideal all-purpose cheese.

Cotto – is a fresh, mild-flavored cheese made from skim milk. Ideal for the diet conscious, it is good for grating and slicing.

Flavored Processed Cheddar – has an added ingredient such as pecan nut, spring onion, curry or garlic.

Red Leicester – is noted for its faint lemony bite. Its red is from a natural vegetable dye (annoto); it is an excellent melting cheese.

Vintage Cheddar – has been aged up to 18 months. Also known as ‘extra tasty’, it has a full-bodied to biting flavor.

Semi Matured Cheddar – has been aged for 3-6 months and has a rich full-bodied, but not sharp, flavor. It is good for the cheeseboard and in soups and quiches.

Mild Cheddar – has been aged for three months and has a delicate children’s sandwich taste.

My favourite types of cheddar are Vintage Cheddar, Aged Cheddars and Double Gloucester. I love the sharp, flavorful tastes and they way they accompany wine so perfectly. I’ll let you know what I think are the best wines to pair with my favourite cheddars.

Far a general wine, one to pair with any type of cheddar, you can’t go wrong with a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Champagne or Sauvignon Blanc. If you want to get more specific, so as to match you wine and cheese perfectly, decide on either the wine or cheese you want to serve first then match the other accordingly.

For sharp cheddars, such as your Mature and Vintage Cheddars I would suggest a Merlot or a Cabernet Sauvignon. Overall, most red wines pair nicely with a sharp cheddar.

For milder cheddars, an unwooded Chardonnay or a Pinot Noir pair nicely.

For Double Gloucester cheese, I would suggest pairing it with a Sauvignon Blanc or a spicy red like a Syrah.

Does anybody have any other cheddar and wine pairings they think I should try? These are just a few of the many possible pairings you could try, and if you prefer a different wine go ahead and give it a try. At the end of the day you can’t go wrong with wine and cheese!

Neon for the timid

Neon for the timid

Neon seems to be one of those trends that “comes back” every year. Lets face it, everyone loves a good 80’s revival. For those too timid to go full out with this trend, or those who would rather not invest in a decade they’d prefer to forget, I suggest finding a way to incorporate one or two neon elements into your spring wardrobe. Why not brighten up a drab look with neon nail polish or a splash or orange on your wrist? Has anybody bought a neon item for thier spring wardrobe this year?

Travel Tuesday: Cancun, Mexico

I went to Cancun with my boyfriend back in 2008 during Reading Week (Canadian Spring Break). The consistent 30 degrees Celsius temps were a very welcome break from February in Canada! We stayed at the Grande Oasis Hotel which we thought was great. We upgraded to an ocean front room, with is 100% worth it to me. There’s nothing like coming back to your room at the end of the day and having a few drinks watching the sunset over the ocean. We did the club thing two nights we were there; however we’re not really clubby people. Coco Bongo was insane—I think I was inside for like 30 minutes before I started having a panic attack from the crowds. It was so full we couldn’t even get to the exit, a kind security guard took pity on me and let us leave through an emergency exit. If the building wasn’t so crowded I think I would have loved Coco Bongo, but it was just way, way too much for me hahaha.

The ocean was great, that beautiful turquoise colour that makes you dream of vacation. We took a few excursions too, and those were fun. I don’t think I would go back to Cancun again, not because it isn’t good, but because I think I’d rather go a bit further out of the city into the Mayan Riviera, where the scene is less focused on clubs and shopping. That’s a little more up my alley!

Friday Roundup

Long weekend baby! At least for those of you in Alberta. I am really looking forward to this weekend. Sleeping in, late breakfast, good coffee. Saturday is going to be a great day. I’m going to the afternoon session of WineFest and then the Alberta Ballet’s presentation of Cinderella. Can’t wait! Here are a few things I’ve pinned lately.

Coolest mani

Cutest picture

                                                                                                                                          Weekend breakfast idea

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Favourite bag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best photo