Friday Roundup

Happy Friday! This is the first week that has really started to feel like spring in Edmonton. The sun is shining, the air smells fresh and instead of frost on my windshield I have dew! So, I’m excited about that! I can’t wait for summer. It’s my favourite season, I am so ready to retire my knit sweaters and boots and bust out my sun dresses and wedges. What about you guys? In the meantime, here are a few Pinterest finds from the past week:

Most tranquil moment:

Favourite eating area:

Best dress:

Cutest picture:

Best party snack (7 layer dip in a shot glass!):

 

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You know you were born in the 80’s if …

  • You can still sing the rap to the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”
  • You yearned to be a member of the Baby-sitters club and tired to start a club of your own
  • You know what show this is from…I submit for your approval of the midnight society…
  • You wished Jumanji was a real game
  • You had plastic streamers on your handle bars or rode a banana seat bike
  • You played the game “MASH” (Mansion, Apartment, Shelter, House)
  • You remember reading “Tales of a fourth grade nothing” and all the Ramona books.
  • You thought Molly Ringwald was REALLY cool. (Was there an 80’s movie she WASN’T in?)
  • You owned a hair crimper…and weren’t afraid to use it
  • Butterfly clips were the height of cool
  • You know who said the phrase “you got it dude”
  • You read all the Goosebumps books
  • You dreamed about marrying J.T.T
  • When TGIF meant: Boy Meets World, Full House, Family Matters, Sabrina the Teenage Witch etc…
  • When downloading music was taping a song from the radio with a cassette
  • You played Pogs at recess and would never dream of parting with your slammer
  • You ripped out all of the ad’s from magazines and completely covered your bedroom walls with them
  • Your first pet was a Tamagotchi (and you couldn’t keep it alive for the life of you)
  • You and your girlfriend choreographed a routine to the Spice Girls and fought over who had to be Scary Spice
  • You owned every single Sweet Valley High book
  • Freddie Prince Jr. was a movie heartthrob
  • The best part of science class was Bill Bye
  • You had a Slip n Slide birthday party

 

10 Shoes for Spring and Summer

10 Shoes for Spring and Summer

  1. Floral Wood Platform – Wet Seal
  2. Gretta – Steve Madden
  3. Canvas Cork Wedge – Wet Seal
  4. Sage Ballet Flat – Twelfth St by Cynthia Vincent
  5. PAT Wedge Sandal in Brown Leather – House of Harlow 1960
  6. Two-tone leather Sandal – Lanvin
  7. Dark Pink Colour Block Platform Sandal – Debenhams
  8. Volpi Poppi d’Orsay Pump – Christian Louboutin
  9. Original Tall Gloss Boot – Hunter
  10. Bethie Smooth Glitter Heel – Alice and Olivia

Travel Tuesday: Banff, Alberta

Better late than never, as promised, here is a Travel Tuesday post on my trip to Banff, Alberta. I love Banff. Growing up in Alberta I spent many summer and winter vacations in the mountains—Banff, Jasper, the Kootenays. The Rocky Mountains are beautiful. Massive, snowy and exhilarating. The town of Banff, is a quaint, picture perfect little resort town nestled in this mass expanse of seemingly never ending mountains. Some of the notable mountain peaks surrounding Banff are Mount Rundle, Sulphur Mountain, Mount Norquay, and Cascade Mountain.

Banff is one of Canada’s most popular tourist destinations, known for its mountainous surroundings and hot springs. It is a destination for outdoor sports and features extensive hiking, biking, scrambling and skiing areas such as Sunshine Village, Ski Norquay and Lake Louise Mountain Resort, all within the national park.

Did you know, Banff was founded in 1883, by three Canadian Pacific railway workers, who discovered the natural hot springs now known as the Cave and Basin. This natural attraction soon resulted in the Federal Government setting aside this and surrounding land as a Federal Reserve named the Rocky Mountain Parks. The town on Banff was soon to follow, named after Banffshire in Scotland, the birthplace of two Canadian Pacific Railway Directors. Quickly recognizing the tourism potential of Banff, Canadian Pacific built the Banff Springs Hotel. While the hotel was originally planned to service guests as a stopover while traveling across the country, it soon became a destination on its own and still is today.

There are plenty of great places to stay and eat while in Banff and at multiple different price points. We stayed at the Banff Caribou Lodge and Spa. It was my first time staying here, but I was quite satisfied. The rooms were all recently redone, the hotel had a pool and spa area, onsite restaurant (The Keg) and a mini fridge in the room to keep our beer and wine cold for an après ski drink! It’s also about 5 mins away from the main strip (Banff Ave), which I prefer because it keeps the noise levels down. All in all, I would definitely stay here again.

The food highlights for me were The Maple Leaf Grill & Lounge and Wild Bill’s Legendary Saloon, both on Banff Ave. We ate at the Maple Leaf on the Saturday night of our trip. It was St. Patrick’s Day and I had been hoping to go to the Irish Pub but it was just packed and we were both really hungry, after a full day on the hill. The Maple Leaf has a great atmosphere. It’s got stereotypical Canadian decor (think stuffed beavers and geese and wood) but the overall vibe is cozy and romantic. We sat in big cushiony chairs tucked in the corner of the room, with a wool Hudson’s Bay Company blanket covering the bottom half of the window for both privacy and warmth. To eat we had the Pan Fried Gnocchi and AAA Beef Tenderloin (both very good), followed by the Chocolate Soufflé for dessert (fantastic).

We ate at Wild Bill’s for our first lunch in town, after our drive in from Edmonton. I believe this place is a bar at night and a restaurant during the day. It has a very good central location, located on the second floor of the building so you have a nice view from the window as well. The service left something to be desired, however, the food was awesome. We had the Bison Burger and the Ranch-Style Turkey, which is a sandwich with turkey, lots of gravy and a little bit of sour cream….it was so, so good. You definitely get your bang-for-your-buck pub food here.

The main reason we went to Banff was to go snowboarding. We chose to go to Lake Louise to board because you can buy lift tickets from Costco and they are much cheaper. The hill is great. It has 4200 skiable acres, making it one of the largest ski areas in North America. There are tons of lifts and over 139 marked runs, plus the back bowls. So, as long as you avoid the main area, off of the first lift, you can generally board without people getting in your way. We couldn’t have asked for better weather when we went. It was probably about zero degrees and it snowed all day long. The only time I was ever cold was on the chair lift. The hill had tons of powder. At one point, at the top of the mountain it was a total white out. You couldn’t tell what was sky and what was mountain. It was actually a little freaky since I couldn’t tell where the run was, I was terrified of going off of a cliff! A great day though. I hadn’t been snowboarding in two years, just been too busy, I’m very glad I made it out this year though. This was a great weekend.

Hunger Games, Swan Lake and Mad Men…My weekend recap

How was everyone’s weekend? There was tons to do in Edmonton this weekend, lots of places I wish I could have been, but you can’t be everywhere at once. My weekend was great! Like I mentioned on Friday, I had a full schedule of things to do and nothing disappointed. Here’s a recap of what I did:

Friday

Went to see The Hunger Games (do not read this blurb on the movie if you have not seen it yet and do not want spoilers!!!). LOVED it. I am so happy they kept the movie true to the book. The book was better, but that is always the case. Hunger Games is a tough book to adapt into a movie because a lot of the book goes on in Katniss’ head. You can’t have the same sort of emotional connection and inner struggle that you get from a book (in my opinion at least).  Jennifer Lawrence played Katniss perfectly. It is so refreshing to see a strong female lead in a book/movie. I’m so over, wimpy, helpless women (ahem, Twilight) who need a man in their lives to keep them strong. I like Katniss, and the fact that people rely on her to take care of them. Master of Ceremonies, Caesar Flickerman, brilliantly portrayed by Stanley Tucci, was one of my favourite characters in the movie, a much needed comic relief.

In a perfect world this movie would have been filmed to an “R” rating, I mean, the plot revolves around a group of kids trying to kill each other in an arena for the amusement of the masses. However, since its primary demographic is pre-teen and teenage girls (as evidenced by the squeals of delight coming from them during the movie) they obviously had to keep the rating to PG-13. For many parts of the film they used shaky-cam captures, which effectively keeps the exposure to violence to a PG-13 level while simultaneously allows for the killing and violent mood. At times the shaky-cam makes me a bit dizzy, but I do see the point of using it in this film. Overall, I think they did they book good. Having read the book I had a deeper understanding of the film and the characters (especially the Peeta-Katniss love story which I would have had a hard time buying into had I not read the books) but reading the book is not imperative to enjoying the movie. I’m pretty sure I’ll be going to see it again soon; I can’t believe we have to wait a year and a half for the next one.

Saturday

Went out to dinner at The Bothy. This is my second time there and I was not disappointed. The Bothy is a wine and whisky bar located on the south side of Edmonton (although they’ll be opening up a 124th St location as well soon). I tried a new red wine, Laya from Spain, it was quite nice. To eat we had the Cajun Shrimp and Scallop appetizer which had a nice kick to it. For my entrée I had the Turkey Club, which had a fried egg on it. It was fantastic. I honestly think that everything tastes better with some egg yolk on it, it’s just a fact of life.

After dinner we went to Alberta Ballet’s production of Swan Lake. I love classical ballets; I’m not really into modern dance or the like, so this production was right up my alley. The female lead, the Swan Queen/Black Swan was wonderful. Her pirouette sequence was fantastic and spot on. The sets were also incredible. My only qualm with the ballet was that it was too long. Personally, two intermissions is one too many and while I am a huge fan of dance, a three hour ballet is just too much for me. Overall, a brilliant production. The leads were poignant, striking and technically prepared. The story beautifully told. Another success for Alberta Ballet and Kirk Peterson.

Sunday

Sunday was the two hour season five premier of Mad Men. As you all know, I was very excited for this, a year and a half wait, come on! I thought the episode was great (especially the fashion). You can tell that the times are changing. The civil rights movements are picking up, the era of free spirits is in full swing. It’s a changing generation, one that it seems is a bit unsettling to Don, as his new wife is fully immersed in it. The party scene was my favourite, riddled with awkwardness and misjudgement. Sterling was just as entertaining as ever, spoiling the surprise, envying Don’s life and hating his wife. Megan, Don’s new wife is sure to become one of my new favourite characters. That sultry French love song that ends with a discreet version of a lap dance, her hair, her dress. Love, love and love. I can’t wait to see more of her in the upcoming episodes. No Betty and her pretty, sourpuss face this week, but I’m sure she’ll be back in full force soon enough. Definitely looking forward to the rest of this season!

Friday Roundup

Happy Friday! I can’t wait for this weekend to start, I have so many fun things to look forward too! Tonight I am going to see The Hunger Games (yay), Saturday I am going to the ballet (Swan Lake) followed by a birthday party for a friend, and Sunday is the 2 hour season premier of Mad Men. So, all in all, I have a fun filled weekend ahead of me. Hope you guys have something fun planned too! Here are my favourite finds around Pinterest this week:

Cutest photo:

Best idea I never would have thought of (put your strawberries and melted chocolate in an ice cube tray, freeze and serve, genius!):

Cutest easter egg idea (thanks Martha Stewart):

Best party idea (a pizza party):

Favourite outfit:

My Mad Men Style

My Mad Men Style

One show, three looks. This is my modern day interpretation of how to dress like the ladies of Mad Men. It’s all about taking your favourite influences from the era, the characters and the show and adding modern touches to update your look.

I love Mad Men. I cannot wait for season five to start this Sunday! And a two hour premiere to boot, yay me! I actually re-watched the entire series not too long ago in preparation for season five and to get my Mad Men fix. It has been far, far too long since there was a new episode.

There are so many things I love about this show. One, I’m a sucker for period pieces, especially shows set in the 50’s and 60’s. While so many things were so backwards then (women’s rights, health etc.) those times seem so glamorous as well. What I wouldn’t give for a date night in the city to be a high-class, black tie affair, complete with jewels, designer dresses and furs. The service was impeccable, the drinks free flowing and the clothes. Oh man, those clothes. I also love the advertising part of the show. The ad’s from this era set the tone for what advertising would eventually become. I love the way Don starts talking about life and advertising, and random things when he gets on a roll. He just goes off into his own little world, where he makes the magic happen.

For those of you just as excited as I am for Mad Men this Sunday, here’s hoping it’s a great episode. If you’ve never watched Mad Men before, there’s still time! Have a marathon weekend, I promise you won’t regret it!

The Hunger Games craze

It’s almost here. I can’t tell you how excited I am. Obviously I’m talking about the premier of The Hunger Games. The lead up to this movie has been filled with Harry Potter and Twilight comparisons, but personally I am much more excited for this movie. I was a bit old for Harry Potter by the time all of the movies came out, and while I liked the Twilight books, I LOVED the Hunger Games books. If you haven’t read Hunger Games yet I strongly advise that you do, and before you see the movie (books are always better than movies).

The Hunger Games is a young adult, dystopian book. It takes place in the future world of Panem (originally North America), where rebellious districts are punished by a ruling Capitol with a twisted annual event called The Hunger Games. Two children are selected from each District and forced to fight to the death in a simulated arena. The games are broadcast all over Panem, and citizen’s watching and betting on the winner.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. Katniss and Peeta are taken to the Capitol where their drunken mentor, Haymitch Abernathy, victor of the 50th Hunger Games, instructs them to watch and learn the talents of the other tributes. During this time, Peeta reveals on-air his long-time unrequited love for Katniss. Katniss believes this to be a ploy to gain audience support for the Games, which can be crucial for survival, as audience members are encouraged to send gifts like food, medicine, and tools to favored tributes during the Games.

I don’t want to give much away, so I will leave the plot summary at this. I’m going to see the movie on Friday night. I bought my tickets quite awhile ago (I know, I’m a geek) so I’ll have a review up sometime this week. I really hope that they stick pretty close to the book though. I hate when the writers and producers change too much. I guess we’ll see though! I’ll leave you here with some tidbits I’ve found showing just how much people are looking forward to this movie:

Monday night spinach salad

After a weekend of eating snacks, treats, pub food and beer I am craving a healthy and light dinner tonight. On nights like this I like to throw some chicken on the BBQ and make a fresh, tasty spinach salad. Here’s what I put in mine:

Ingredients

  • ¼ medium sized red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 2 bunches baby organic spinach, rinsed
  • 4 cups sliced strawberries
  • ½ cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup almond slices, toasted
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 2 large chicken breast, grilled and cut
  • Blue cheese salad dressing

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients. Pour dressing over salad, toss and serve.
  2. For a different flavour combination, replace the almonds and blue cheese with pecans and goat cheese.
  3. Pairs nicely with a crisp white wine. I like Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio (see my review here)

Does anyone else have a go-to healthy meal they’d like to share? If so leave your recipe in the comments!