Thursday, July 28, 2005

More of a flip flop saga

I'm not proud of it, but I've taken to watching Popcultured lately because I have a thing for Levi MacDougall (however, this show seems to suck the life out of everything it touches. I've seen this guy live and been laughing so hard I thought I'd die and it would have been worth it. But on this show? Eh. Not so much). Sadly he wasn't on tonight. However, some girl who was elimnated from Canadian Idol last night was on as the guest (I know, this show... it's so... highbrow). I wasn't that intrigued because I don't watch Canadian Idol, and her name was Ashley and due to junior high I have a distrust of people named Ashley, and watching the clip of her being eliminated kind of made me laugh. Awful person, I know.

Anyway. They show a close up of her when she's first on the show and I recoil slightly noticing that she's wearing a racerback tank top. I know that it's Popcultured, but it is a television show nonetheless. Chances are the only talk show this girl will ever be on. But I shrug it off and continue eating my microwavable Asian chicken rice bowl (I know, you hear about my jetsetting nonstop party lifestyle and you weep in jealousy). Then they cut to a wide angle shot of her and I actually yelp "oh no she didn't!" to no one in particular. She was wearing flip flops and a denim skirt. On a talk show. Or a comedy show. Whatever you want to call it. Point being, I know it's a crappy show on the Comedy Network that doesn't even have a website. I know it has that annoying kid from The X on it. But it's not Laguna Beach. A line has to be drawn, a gauntlet thrown. Stringing a strand of beads around your neck does not an outfit make.

Especially considering that this is some high end karaoke singer we're talking about. Coming in ninth on Canadian Idol isn't exactly something you should be bragging about, and I can't imagine the quality of guests they were considering if this was the best they could do. I know, it's mean and cliche to trash Canadian Idol (and Canadian television in general) but... come on. A person shows up to their interview in flip flops, you get a new guest. Drag someone in off the street. Chances are they have the approximate same level of fame as this Canadian Idol girl.

Television interviews need to be treated like job interviews. If a person shows up to a job interview in flip flops and denim, chances are they won't get the job. Talk shows need to start having dress codes. I know it's kind of fascist (you know, in the same way that Monica Lewinsky describes things as 'D-Day'), but it's the only way. Stop the slop, people. Stop the slop.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Even the name is undesirable

I am not a fan of flip flops. I find them hard to walk in, and they hurt my toes to keep them on my feet. I use them when I'm on vacation in a beachy area. I'll wear them if I get a pedicure. But I can't stand the feel or sound of them, so I wear them as little as humanly possible.

I also hate wedge heels. I'm really not big on the whole wedge/espadrille trend this year. Maybe it's just because I have big feet, so you slap a wedge heel onto a size ten, and it just makes it look like a big clunky mess. So you can imagine my horror when I found an unholy union of two highly undesirable styles. How would one even walk in those things? I'm imagining my foot sliding down the shoe and the skin between my big toe and second toe becoming a mess of blood and chafing. I can't understand how no one in the comments looked at this shoe and assumed that they could somehow trump the laws of physics and keep the damn thing on their foot without severe pain and/or laughter from bystanders who aren't fucking insane. There are so many things wrong with this shoe that I can't even begin to tell you. But I sum it up in two words: wedge thongs. Two words that do not belong together. Ever. The thong is not an inherantly dressy version of footwear. The idea of a formal thong has to be stopped. Thongs are for the beach and for pedicures. And wedges are just a bad idea in general. Unless you're into having triangular elephant feet. I'm sure there's a niche market for that (okay, I can understand wedge heels of under one and a half inches. It's just the wedges that inch up into the 2-4 (or god forbid, platform) range that really get to me. Wedge heels are much like thongs. Something to be enjoyed in moderation, not in a destestable orgy of clunky-shod tackiness).

All things considered, I'm not surprised that it's baby phat brand. That she-beast Simmons will not stop until she has fugged the world.

Monday, July 25, 2005

A fit of crazy

I went out yesterday evening and bought a case of beer and then went back to the apartment to sweep and clean and do all those things that are so much more fun with a few Sleemans in you. Then my boyfriend got back from a meeting at about nine o'clock with another case of beer. And we laughed. And then we drank more beer, and we watched Entourage on DVD and I got the bright idea to paint my fingernails. While really, really drunk. Anyway, I was just putting on the base coat when I slopped far too much on my pinky finger, and it started dribbling down my actual skin, there was so much there.

So in a fit of crazy I licked it off.

At the time, I don't remember it being particularly awful, but today there is a patch on my tongue that feels like the taste buds have been burnt off. Because I'm an idiot. So, yes, nail polish and drunkeness don't mix. At least I had the sense to just do the base coat and not cover myself with anything else.

I feel like such an asshat. But it was also kindof funny in that "when I no longer feel injured I will laugh" sort of way.

Also: Entourage is an excellent show. I highly recommend it.

The intersections of politics and footwear

Over at The Manolo they were talking about what shoes (namely, not flip flops) one would wear to meet the President. This intersection of politics and footwear made me think about my aesthetically favourite Member of Parliament, Belinda Stronach. I know that being the best looking and best dressed MP isn't really an accomplishment, but then I rustled up a few photo galleries. This CBC gallery has a vast collection of Belinda's sharp dressing (and a bizarre photo of Stephen Harper nearly ripping teensy little Tony Clement's arm out of its tiny little socket), and this Maclean's one has two close ups of some simply gorgeous shoes.

I don't really know what I think of Belinda as a person, but I sure do like looking at her.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Bras and Tea

I was doing laundry yesterday morning when I realized how pathetic my underwear collection is lately. I'm not quite sure why I haven't noticed until now, since I've always been a bit of an underwear magpie, and there are few things that make me happier than the knowledge that I have pretty panties on. It just seems like the times when I'm most secure in the knowledge that there will be no one there to see my underwear are the times when my underwear is nicest. Or something like that. Point being, I had to go buy a few bras. I used to go to The Bra Bar (they don't have a website because they are luddites) in Yorkville where the lingerie was excellent, but I hated the sales staff. They were the cruellest, snobbiest, bitchiest women ever, but I kept going there because I'll... put up with a lot of a abuse if there is lingerie involved. I highly recommend The Bra Bar simply for its selection, but the salespeople are evil.

Anyway, so yesterday I ended up at Intimately Yours (why does it seem like all lingerie boutiques are run by luddites? Seriously. It's not difficult to make a website) in Bankers Hall today. It's not quite The Bra Bar, but it's got a decent high-end selection, and the salespeople? My god, I'd forgotten that buying bras shouldn't be a painful and humiliating experience. The woman was completely sweet and lovely, professional without being stuffy. I walked away with four bras, and I was just completely wowed by the whole experience. I know it's a lame thing to get excited about, but for the longest time lingerie shopping was really kind of painful. Either I had to go to The Bra Bar and face the salespeople to get well made underwear, or I had to go to La Senza which I just find to be a really depressing experience. So, yes, if you are in the Calgary area, go to Intimately Yours. It will make you feel so good.

I also found Totalitea, which I'm in love with now. I usually order my tea from Silk Road, but there's something very soothing about going into the shop and browsing through the little sniffing jars, and finding something that works for you. I know, I'm so twee, but I'm making sun tea with the Sunny Island right now, and it'll be so very, very good.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Pants that fit

Okay. So. I know that they would eventually put me into a foul mood because everyone would assume that I'm a big Gwen Stefani fan, but I adore these trousers. I don't even wear trousers (which isn't supposed to sound suggestive, it's just that I am a skirt sort of girl) that often, and I'm coveting these like crazy. Maybe it's just that I never bought into the low-rise thing, simply because I have spent far too much time walking behind gaggles of teenage girls, all of whom are probably a size two, but still insist on squeezing their pert little bottoms into size zero, which creates a weird roll of back flab. I am anti-back flab, especially since it is so avoidable (namely: buy pants that fit).

Anyway.

I'm loving the cut of these pants. They're low-rise enough to not give that 1970s torso-gobbling feeling, but they also aren't the type of trousers that require pubic grooming or backless panties before venturing outside. They seem like they'd be hip-friendly. And I'm digging the nautical details. They're subtle enough that you could wear them to the office or dress them up with a cute top and heels and go out for a night on the town. And, considering the whole "it's superfreezing here!" aspect, these pants would look awesome with this navy blue trench coat I have that will serve me well come fall.

I'm just loving these pants guys. It feels a little weird.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I read, but I'm still shallow

Book stores are my version of candy shops. I run in, and I can spend a few hours wandering around looking thoughtfully at dust jackets, picking books up because I like the cover, reading a few pages. I love it. I am a big time reader. While normal sales clerk intimidate me, I love the clerks at book shops, just because they all seem to love books, and not sales.

The best book shop of them all is Munro's in Victoria, but today I went to McNally Robinson and wandered around for a few hours before leaving with a bag full of books. The favourite of them is the new biography of Stephen Harper, Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada. I was kind of hoping that it would be a Kitty Kelly-style scandalicious tell all about Harper's sordid past, but firstly, Stephen Harper is the Al Gore of Canada. He's been intent on leading the country for years, and he's been thinking about his decorum since he was in junior high. Secondly, the guy who wrote it is clearly a hardcore conservative. This is the type of ass-kissing that normally I only see Ben Mulroney attempting on E-Talk Daily.

Rick Mercer has a funny review of it on his blog, and he mentioned one of my favourite things about political biographies: the photos. I read a lot of biographies, and I always love the photos in the centre. Retro hair, bad clothing, leg warmers. It warms the heart. I have a biography of Richard Nixon which shows that he was disturbingly hot as a young man, a couple of Jean Chretien biographies that show that most people are really attractive with the sheen of youth. But I guess that Stephen Harper's cold, dead eyes would always detract from whatever he might have looked like in 1978.

Yeah, I don't know why I've been so shallow lately, either.

Anyway, yes. Books. You should read them. Especially this one. Because it's like a soap opera contained in a first lady.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Non-sick crushes

I think David Suzuki is really sexy. He was in a documentary on Hot Type's documentary week last year, and I was all "you're hot, Suzuki." (I know, I'm so eloquent. I'm like Rex Murphy). And my appreciation of David Suzuki can translate into a T-shirt. Which is a really awesome T-shirt. I also like the The Hour T-shirt. Mostly because I think George Strouboulopoulos is nice to look at (which he is. But he's also surprisingly smart. Which makes me feel bad for spending several years being sad that he wasn't Rick the Temp on MuchMusic. Also, while I'm being shallow and mentioning hot people on the CBC, Evan Solomon (host of Hot Type (coincidence? I think not)) is superhot).

To be fair to Canadian programming, I was also going to send you to a link of Corner Gas (which is on CTV) merchandise, but it's all "won't load!!!!!" for me, so there. Then I was going to see if there was any David Reale merchandise from Popcultured (that kid is, like, 19. He's adorable, but he makes me feel dirty. Which no comedian should. All comedians should be at least a year older than me. All comedians should remember Wham!.). But I couldn't find any. So now I'm going to wonder if my crush on David Suzuki, and my crush on David Reale balance out to not make me, like, you know, sick.

I just don't want to look like Legolas

The boyfriend caught me looking at Anthropologie's fall line up and laughed at me.

"It's July."
"So the fall fashion season starts now."
"Does it?"
Brief pause.
"Yeah. It does." Another pause. "I need to start shopping now. All these designers live in tropical climates, and I have to find things that I can wear in the snow."
"Calgary is in the sub-desert. It doesn't snow that much here."
"Really?!!" (I can't convey the glee that was in my voice here)
"But it does get down to fifty below zero."

Then he laughed and walked away.

So I took the opportunity to look for a new pair of black boots. I have a pair of black boots, but they have an annoyingly high and clunky heel. The type of heel that isn't incredibly ostentatious on a boot, but is incredibly ugly on a shoe. But I'm looking for something a bit... flatter. And without the clunkiness. Because when I put those things on, I'm over six feet tall, and I have a tendency to fall over a lot (a treasured memory is from a few months before we moved when I was running down Trudelle St. after some friends and I slipped, hung in the air for a couple of seconds, and then landed spectacularly on my ass. I think that it's about time I retire these boots, eh?). So I searched Zappos for some alternatives. I rarely shop at Zappos, but I like using them as a scouting agent to see what brands are carrying what I'm looking for, so I can sort of zero in on what stores I should be going to. Because while I do love shopping, I dislike people, and saleclerks intimidate me. I don't understand, either.

Anyway. I found two pairs of boots that will hold up to ice, snow, and fifty below. This pair of Clarks is nice (are nice? But does "pair" indicate that is a pair of boots, singular? Shouldn't I already know this?). I know that Clarks aren't exactly exciting or anything, but I like the shape of these, and I think they would be cute with a knee length plaid skirt, textured red tights, and a black peacoat with a red scarf and a black beret (I am an accessories sort of gal). There's an appealing classic quality to them, and the soles look like they'd be capable of gripping onto an icy sidewalk.

I'm also fond of these Lauren by Ralph Laurens. However, there's something very... elfy about them. They make me think of Legolas. They're nice from the front and the back, but the sides? I have nothing against Legolas in particular, but other than his spectacular hair, I have no desire to emulate him.

I guess I'll make a stop in at Gravity Pope. A lot of their shoes are simply too over-the-top for me, but they carry a more than decent selection of flats, and the salespeople are always nice. And really, that's all that I ask.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Ma'am?

I just got run over by a guy on a skateboard. I'm perfectly fine, probably a little bruised, but I'm like a peach, so that's to be expected. I'm just a little shaken.

Lately I've taken to taking walks around the neighbourhood to orient myself to the city, since I rarely drive, and I find it hard to learn a city when I'm in the passenger seat. So I've been going out each night and walking in one particular direction and seeing what I find. And I really like walking past The Millennium Skate Park. The kids are pretty talented, and it's an interesting way to spend a couple of minutes. Anyway.

So I was walking home past the skate park and there was a kid coming toward me on the sidewalk. I moved to my right and he moved to his left and we collided. He apologized profusely and helped me up right away and kept saying "oh my God, I'm so sorry!" After I was standing again, he grabbed my arm and very earnestly said, "are you all right, ma'am?" I felt a little winded at that. Ma'am? I'm twenty-four! I have a pimple on the side of my nose right now. MA'AM?????

To be fair, when I got home, I kind of could see why he called me ma'am. I have my reading glasses on, my hair is in a bun, and I'm wearing a dark green wrap-sweater, a black skirt that ends below my knees, and black Rocketdog flats I bought a few years ago. I'm dressed like a war widow. The only thing I'm missing is a veil and a handkerchief.

Still, though. Ma'am. I feel so matronly right now.

Shoes of Vengeance

Happy Monday, guys.

I just got an email from a girl I went to high school with and who I completely hated. She wants to get together for coffee. I'm just like "remember that time you were all, 'I know you're dating him, but I'm going to do everything I can to get D.'? and I was so shocked I was just like, 'uh, good luck with that.' And then I walked away from you and you told my chemistry class I had crabs? Yeah. I know it's coming up on ten years later, but I can hold a grudge forever."

This has a point. I kind of do want to meet up with this woman, since beyond the whole boyfriend thing, she made life pretty hellish for me in high school. So naturally, I want to meet her for drinks at the Oak Room wearing a fabulous little dress, and these Zanotti shoes that are absolutely killer in their simplicity. I can't tell if I want random vengeance, or if I'm just using this email as an excuse to shoe shop.

Point being, we all had someone who made us feel inferior and awful in high school. What are your ideal Shoes of Vengeance all these years later?

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Nice Colour, Eh?

I'm up at the lake today and it's been pouring pretty continuously. So while I was earlier dreaming about lying out on the dock, slathering myself in sunscreen, and drinking excessively, I instead went into town and wandered through a couple stores, knowing that I was turning into a Saturday shopper (back when I worked in retail in high school we used to hate Saturday shoppers. They were slow, and irritating, and always asked if we could give them a discount on things, as if they were so incredibly special that we had a secret discount that only went out to people who we wanted to beat to death. I have a lot of residual retail-work anger. This is why I like shopping online so much. Anyway.). There was nothing really that struck my fancy, but I did buy two bottles of OPI's Canadian Collection nail polish (I like how they call it 'Nice Color, Eh?' instead of 'Nice Colour, Eh?' But that's just me being pedantic. And by pedantic I mean Saturday shopper). I got Canadian Maple Leaf and Polar Bare. I'm wearing Polar Bear right now and it's pretty decent. Nudes usually look kind of odd on me, because they clash with the pink tones in my skin, but this one is pretty nice. It's the sort of beigey-pink you see on cosmetics packaging from the late sixties and the early seventies. If that makes sense. It makes me think of the tins my grandmother used to keep in her drawers so she could sort out all of her sewing. An Almond Rocha Beige, I guess.

I haven't tried Canadian Maple Leaf, but that's because the rain has let up, and I might be able to at least sit out on a deck chair. I know. Life. It's exciting.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Chateau Country Lace

I'm wearing a sundress and I am wearing pantyhose. I know. I should be hunted down and hog tied by the fashion police. But I'm going to a party-type-thing at the lake tonight and I know that there will be prolonged outdoor standing and I intend on wearing close-toed shoes, so I think pantyhose is a lesser evil than foot sweat. I don't even know why pantyhose is so maligned. Mine are also covering the rest of the bits of redness on my leg which I got from lolling around on the grass last week (they're not mosquito bites, and I don't think there are blackflies around here, so I think it might just be irritation from the grass itself. That said, for the first few days it looked like leprosy and I was slathering arnica cream on them like crazy. If anyone knows how to quickly get rid of hives (?) caused by grass, drop me a line). But pantyhose? It provides a valuable service. It just has a horrible name.

Anyway. Yeah. No one else seemed to understand why I was so adamant about my right to wear pantyhose for whatever reason I pleased, so I had to share it with you guys. But that's not the reason why I'm writing this article. I thought of another great Calgary shop.

A few weeks ago, some friends dragged us out to The Lazy Loaf and Kettle in Bowness for breakfast. And while that local specialty is also good, I was more taken by the shop across the street, Chateau Country Lace (beware, it's what Jack and Hill call a horribly user-unfriendly Flash site (I don't know why that phrase makes me laugh, but it's my new favourite thing to randomly say). The site doesn't do this store justice. This store is the type of thing that I dreamt about when I was little and I imagined living in a house with an attic. I figured that attics automatically came stuffed with retro treasures that I could plunder for my own fashion. I was a strange child.

Yes, it's a very, very twee shop, but Bowness seems to be a very, very twee place. I picked up some rose soap while I was in there, and a pair of glittery sandals that I just adore. I intend on going back soon, and stocking up a bit more. It's definitely the type of place where you can waste an afternoon just wandering around, poking into the corners, and looking for treasures. Even the most staid minimalist (read: the female half of the friends who came to breakfast with us. The woman thinks bamboo is too decorative) will be taken in. And now I'm dreaming of big floppy hats and jangly bracelets.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I'm not hating on Calgary

I really like watching Corner Gas because as a recent transplant from Toronto, I really emphasize with Lacy. Okay, so, Calgary is no Dog River, Saskatchewan, but it's also no Toronto (alternately, Toronto is no Calgary, either. I'm not slagging Calgary, I'm just saying that it's different). And I think what I miss about Toronto is things like Peach Berserk. I love Peach Berserk. I used to just walk into the store and gape in wonder at the artistry inside. I love the idea of customizable clothing, and I own several pieces of Peach Berserk's handiwork (sadly, this includes the Toronto skyline skirt. I panicked before the move and tore through the city buying every piece of memorabilia I could find. This is less embarrassing than the fact that I actually own Alan Thicke's moving tribute to the Skydome). They're great skirts (I only own skirts. I'm actually not a person who wears pants on a regular basis. Other than jeans, I don't think I even own any pants), and I often get complimented on them (but considering that this is the denim on denim city, I'm not sure how to interpret that). Obviously, it's not a line that suits everyone, but if you have the personality to pull it off (I don't know if I have the personality, but I'm 5'10", so my height generally helps me in the fashion department), I highly recommend it. In the twenty-first century, there are few things more delightful than customizable fashion.

Just so that you don't think I'm hating on Calgary (why is this blog turning into the Calgary vs. Toronto blog? I like this city. I just keep noticing how it's very distinct), here are two things that I adore in Calgary: the selection on the website isn't the greatest, but Twigs has an excellent selection of handmade jewelry. Here's part of what I own (I... I really love the necklaces at Twigs. Which is odd because before that I owned maybe two or three necklaces, all of which were heirlooms).



Other than Twigs, there is also the supreme Gravity Pope. Which has an excellent selection of shoes, and a great private label brand.

Okay Calgary? I'm not hating on you.

Top Five

One of the nicest things about working from home is that I can play whatever music I like at whatever volume I care to, and no one will say anything about it. And while I know it's not exactly fashion-y, maybe this can simply be a blog about consuming. Or something like that. Point being, I just felt like sharing my top five albums at press time:

5: Melodrama Joel Kroeker
This is such a good, relaxing album that I can't figure out for the life of me why they chose 'Goodbye Jane' which is seriously the weakest link as the lead single. Had they released 'Endings,' 'The Wind,' 'Song for a Person on a Bridge' or any other song, really, Joel would totally be a household name. Because it's an excellent, excellent album. I have his 'Naive Bohemian' album as well, and this one is definitely the stronger of the two.
4: Road James Keelaghan
I had never heard of this guy until a client gave me tickets to his show in June. As someone who loves mellow folk ballads, I snapped up almost all of his albums immediately. This is an excellent album, I'm just sad that they don't have a sample of 'Captain Torres' which is my favourite song from the album. It's sad, and spooky, and all around excellent, plus it has Cyrano's last letter to Roxanne, so it's also incredibly cool. Great album.
3: Twentieth Century Blues: The Songs of Noel Coward Various
The Divine Comedy song is addictive. I've been playing it on repeat for the last few days, and I'm not tiring of it any time soon. I'm usually leery of classic/jazzy songs being redone in a modern style, but this compilation is excellent. The only song that sucks is the Shola Ama song because I loathe those breathless, cutesy deliveries. 'There Are Bad Times Just Around the Corner' is perfect for eternal pessimists like moi.
2: The Vanity Project The Vanity Project
Yes, that is Stephen Paige from The Barenaked Ladies. And yes, it is a surpremely awesome album. It's got that trademark BNL upbeat sound mixed with a bit more experimentation, and a bit more... oomph. 'Wilted Rose' is a current favourite, though it's also fun to sing along with 'So. Cal.' in the car.
1: La De Da Joel Plaskett
I had the pleasure of seeing Joel Plaskett a couple of years ago when he was playing the Khyber in Halifax (and was still called The Joel Plaskett Emergency. Also, perhaps it wasn't the Khyber. Point being, it was somewhere in Halifax, and I might just be saying 'Khyber' because the was the title of one of his albums. And I like saying 'Khyber.' Khyber, khyber, khyber, khyber.). I remember being kind of unimpressed by his live show (which I had just randomly stumbled into, so I shouldn't complain) but then I got hooked on 'Maybe We Should Just Go Home' and 'True Patriot Love' when they were released as videos a little while later. Does this have to do with anything? No, not really. Just that I can't believe how much he's improved since that show. Maybe he's still a lousy live show, but this album is beyond excellent. I love it. Even the sullent girl at >Play was all "this is a GREAT album" when I bought it. And if it makes the sullen girl happy, it will make you happy, too.

Fashion Magazine

My boyfriend comes home yesterday and hands a magazine called simply Fashion. "Thanks," I mumbled, looking forlornly at the photo of Eva Longoria on the cover.

"I know you like that girl, so I got that for you."
"I hate Eva Longoria."
"You do?"
"Yes."
"Isn't she one of the desperate housewives?"
"Yes."
"I thought you hated Terri Hatcher."
"I have hate to go around."
"Isn't there one of them you like?"
"Yeah. Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross."
"The one from Melrose place?"
"Yeah."
"She's so... pointy."

So after that stupid exchange, I actually opened the magazine. I'm actually not much of a fashion magazine reader. I sort of flip through for anything to catch my interest, and then I'm usually done them within about half an hour. I like them for flights to Edmonton, which are mercifully short. Anyway. Fashion Magazine is Canadian. It's also a lameass magazine with no apparent cohesiveness (It's no Lou Lou wich is just a glorious shopping orgy, and which appears to have a bigger lust for Crabtree and Evelyn products than I do), but I do appreciate not having to convert the funds. That was nice, other than that, it was stupid. You know how in Lucky and Lou Lou they do comprehensive lists of where to shop in a particular city in the country? That would be nice. But instead Fashion had a lame report on the runways which sounded like it was plaigiarized from Vogue and some photos of clothing that did nothing to inspire me.

On the plus side, it also didn't have those weepy little "real life" stories that other magazines tend to have that totally interrupt my guilt free drooling over bejeweled tank tops and floaty circle skirts. So plus for them.

All in all, I doubt that I'll ever purposely buy a Fashion Magazine. The name bothers me (why such a definitive name for such a lousy product?) and it was nothing special. However, if (like me) you're bad at math and converting from American funds to Canadian, and you have nothing to do for a couple of minutes, you could do worse. It's less grating than The Western Standard.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Sunscreen and Cowboys

I am a bad person for two reasons. One, I should be working right now, but instead I spent the morning thus far walking to get a smoothie and then coming back to the computer and surfing through the beauty sites. Why? Because of reason number two of why I am a bad person: I don't wear sunscreen. I should. I live in the sunshine capital of Canada, but I have difficulty finding a sunscreen that doesn't make me feel like a big, greasy, dumpy mess. Wearing sunscreen is for me the skincare equivalent of wearing sweatpants. No matter how awesome I may believe that I am, I find it very hard to find myself anything but boring and sloppy in sweatpants. The greasy... greasiness of sunscreen depresses me like few other things. I tried the Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock but it was still greasy (I had to use blotting papers before I even attempting slapping on some concealer and mascara) and it broke me out. I tried it again, layering my Kiehl's Blue Herbal Moisterizer (which is, as Badger would say, my Holy Grail) underneath the Neutrogena, and it was a little better, but it was like upgrading from sweatpants to a broomstick skirt. So not that great.

In my search, I've come across one product that looks extremely promising, DDF Matte Finish Photo-Age Protection SPF 30. I'd actually like something in a higher SPF, seeing as how I am pale to the point of translucency, but I'll take what I can get. This stuff look promising. Sadly, I have moved from a city that has not one but two glorious Sephoras, to a city which has zero. I'll either order it over the internet and take my chances or stop in at Holts. They might not carry the line, but they usually know where to go to get the things I desire.

On the Holy Useless, Batman! front, there is the Shu Uemura UV Under Base SPF 8. I don't really use Shu Uemura products, I don't think I've ever bought any in my life, but I've gotten Shu Uemura (most notably that world famous eyelash curler which I first got when I was in my teens and it was a serious upgrade from my sparkly pink eyelash curler that matched my caboodles kit full of make up) as gifts, and it's always been amazing. I'd love to try the underbase, but SPF 8 sounds like what I'd need on a day when I'm scurrying from the car into the gym, not what I'd need if I so much as go for a walk. Heed my plea, Shu Uemura folks.

I also don't get Shiseido Sun Protection Liquid Foundation SPF 42 PA+++. Firstly, the letters at the end? Mean nothing to me. And also, I don't get why it's advertised as SPF 42, but each colour gradient appears to have a different SPF. And who was the rocket scientist who figured that the less melatonin a person naturally had in her skin, the less sun protection she needed? Because if this was the opposite, and they were offering SPF 70 for my paleness, I would be all over this like *insert Paris Hilton and/or Colin Farrell joke here* But otherwise... that makes no sense. Way to ruin my morning, Shiseido.

Speaking of mornings being ruined, this morning on my smoothie run, I ran into my first real Stampede breakfast in downtown Calgary. Working mainly from home, I don't really tend to be outside before noon, so it was a total surprise to me. I was just wondering why the music they were playing on Stephen Avenue (normally a delightful jazz, although a few weeks after moving here, I did hear 'The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald') was so godawful, and then before I scuttled into Bankers Hall I realized that there was a breakfast going on at ATB and they had a live band singing covers of contemporary country songs. I witnessed a whole lot of denim on denim, and no one seemed to realize why this was a mistake.

I don't get Calgary. I move here and everyone tries to assure me that it's a great, cosmopolitan city with a great arts scene and lovely restaurants and blah blah blah world class citycakes. Then four months later they're putting hay bales in their lawyers office, wearing cowboy hats and several pieces of denim AT THE SAME TIME, and randomly shouting 'yahoo!' like someone tasered them and they wonder why Torontonians make fun of them? I don't get it.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Cottage Fever

It's only Monday but already I'm dreaming about weekends at the cottage (or the cabin as Albertans call it). The city is hot and sticky and swarming with tourists for the Stampede week. I've already got some Sleeman's Cream Ale on ice and I'm dreaming about lying on the dock in this dress.

4711

While I'm getting apoplectic over fragrances, I'd like to share with you the first cologne I ever bought myself.

I've had the same bottle of Chanel no. 5 since I was 14. My great uncle bought it for me in Paris, and it just reeked of Old Lady to me. I think the last time I wore it was to my junior high school graduation (yes, junior high school graduation. I know). I wasn't fond of the Chanel scent, but it did pique my interest in perfumes and colognes in general.

To be fair, I'm talking about the first cologne I bought that has an actual mythology behind it. Because I totally did the fruit body sprays and all those other hideous things in junior high. But I'm not going to think of my first cologne being some sort of sickly sweet pear-scented body spray. That just depresses me. But in the summer between grade 9 and grade 10, I did my research and looked for a cologne that would live up to the mythology behind the House of Chanel but, you know, wouldn't smell like my grandmother.

And for the entirety of my grade ten year, I wore my new favourite fragrance 4711. 4711 is the model for all Eau de Colognes today. It's why we call it Eau de Cologne, it was developed in Cologne, Germany and it's the oldest commercial cologne still being manufactured today. That's initially why I chose it (actually, I was more intrigued by Hungary Water, but I think that Crabtree and Evelyn- the only company that I know of that ever manufactured a Hungary Water scent- had discontinued it by that time), but I stayed with it because it's such a lovely scent. It's a unisex scent, with a mainly citrus scent but with hints of sandalwood and rose. It has an almost candy-like quality to it, but it's not cloying. It's a perfect summer scent, since it smells like lemonade without smelling like you spilled your drink on yourself.

I dabbed some on myself this morning, and I still can't stop surreptitiously sniffing my wrist and reminiscing about high school.

Jo Malone, Love of my life

I am a big ho for all things Jo Malone. Whenever I'm walking past Holt Renfrew, I found myself inexplicably drawn inside to poke and prod at their scents, to layer them on myself, and then to have a saleslady with stylish yet oddly matronly hair persuade me to buy another bottle of perfume or another tub of sinfully rich body cream. It's a sickness, I know.

Black Vetyver Cafe is my standby. It's a deep, rich, spicy scent that smells like warmth and sunshine during the winter months and smells crisp and fresh during the summer months. It's versatile and I love it. This is the scent I always wear on first dates, because it's so distinctive and so interesting.

While we're on the subject of Jo Malone, I'll also talk about Eucalyptus Oil Control Fluid. I was in Holts for a non-Jo Malone related reason (Kiehl's Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion, as used by Andy Warhol) and stopped by to spritz myself with Amber and Lavender and wonder why normal lavender scented products make me gag, but I love the Jo Malone when the saleslady noted my little bag of Kiehl's samples and asked what lines I used. I explained the intense oiliness brought on by the heat and humidity of the summer and the general grossness of living downtown. She clucked her tongue and gave me a lecture on the Eucalyptus Oil Control Fluid and so I bought it. Because I'm weak like that. I did, however, get a little cologne sampler, so that was nice.

Anyway, after that useless story, I just have to tell you: Oh my God. This stuff is beyond awesome. So awesome I needed bold. My skin is matte and clean and tingly and... sigh. If you're suffering from oily skin and Summer in the City Syndrome, I recommend it. It's like treating your face to a weekend at the cottage.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I feel stupid using a fashion blog to express my condolences to London, but I just thought that I should.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Monk cobbled shoes

I'm not sure if I like these Paloma Barcelo Mary Janes or not. They have a certain handmade flare to them, like you'd ask that intern with the multiple piercings and a shrunken head on her desk where she got them and she just shrug and say "a monk cobbled them for me when I was living in Bhutan." They have a certain je ne sais quois. But... I don't know. They're somewhere between incredibly appealing and incredibly revolting. Like a hairless cat.

Party skin

I hope that everyone is recovering from Canada Day better than I am. Next time someone offers to split a bottle of wine at 2 in the morning? The proper response is "hell no!"

I was going to post an adorable HBC Signature bikini for everyone to covet over this holiday weekend, but it turns out that you can't shop online at The Bay. This is why they keep losing money, people. And then I was going to post Canadian and American flag bikinis. But I couldn't find any Canadian ones online, and the only American flag ones I could find were g-strings, and I'm pretty sure that Ben Franklin wouldn't approve of that. And then I drank wine. And then I spent Saturday lying on the couch moaning about my aching head while my beer-drinking boy was all "I told you so." And now I'm back. And I'm sure you're very interested in that.

However, what you will be interested in? Mario Badescu Special Mask for Oily Skin. It's perfect for those nights when you party a little too hard and stagger home and fall into bed without taking your make up off (which I don't recommend. But, you know, it happens). Next day, wash off what hasn't been ground into your pillows, and then slap this on. Normally, after a night in my make up, I would currently resemble a minefield. But it has been kind to my skin, and even kinder considering my stupidity (seriously kids, take off your make up). Best part is? Now you can order from the website, so if you are Canadian or Montanan or West Virginian, you no longer have to make pilgrimages.

Follow it up with Kiehl's Kiehl's Herbal Toner with Mixed Berries and Extracts. Because if you must abuse your skin every once in awhile, pamper it the rest of the time.