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  1. Show 'n' Tell: back-to-school shopping

    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    It's really not back-to-school shopping since I have no school to go back to, but the feeling is still there. Even though I've been out of school for a little over a year now (it seems so much longer!) I still get that feeling of excitement when the leaves start to turn and the busses start chugging down the streets again.

    And since I didn't spend much money in New York, I decided to spend some dough at one of my favourite local shops, Twig. I focused on colourful yet pieces that could be pretty versatile with our wacky weather that is sure to hit soon (too soon!)

    The very first thing that caught my eye as soon as I walked in was this bright green jacket, with a one-button stance. It's not too structured and the bright colour and canvas-like material is perfectly shabby-chic.

    The next thing that caught my eye was this cardigan. I have a black cropped shrug, but I've been looking for a similar white one. While this didn't exactly fit the bill, I loved the lace detailing and the buttons. One minor problem is that the top button doesn't really do up thanks to my well-endowed bust (ahem) but leaving the top button undone is no big deal!

    I also picked up this dress. G noted that it had similar lace detailing to the cardigan, and it turns out they are made by the same designer. While the dress is shorter than I normally like, it will be perfect for thick tights and oxford boots come the chillier season.

    I also ordered some shoes online from Spring, because what's fall without new shoes? I've had my eye on these $20 brogues for a while and finally snatched them up before they were gone.

    And I couldn't resist these red kitten heels for only $30.

    So that's the end of my shopping show-off, but I did try a hairstyle out of my new book today! I had a bit of a flop set because my hair is at the point where it's too thick and heavy to curl (grr, didn't I just go through this a few months ago?) so I had to do something where it the failed curls on my top layer were camouflaged but the successful, tighter curls underneath were still showcased. Enter the Homemaker:

    Since my hair wasn't as long as the model's it didn't turn out exactly the same, but I'm still pretty pleased, especially since it didn't take me that long to figure out how to pin a dry pin curl without the bobby pin showing.

    I love the book, it's actually pretty straight-forward to follow - or at least thing style was - but I do I have one complaint. Like a lot of other bloggers who have reviewed this book, I find it annoying that the spine is not ringed (like a recipe book) but instead bound tightly, probably like glue. It's makes it incredibly difficult to keep the book open without physically holding it until it's broken in a little bit more. However, I have other makeup books that are bound like this and after a lot of use they are starting to fall apart and lose pages. Some of them, like my Kevin Aucoin books, I'm considering to rebind them with coils to make them last longer, but it's such a pain! Does anyone have any other suggestions to remedy the situation?

    That said, I can't wait to try out more styles (and if anyone local is willing to lend their hair and head to the cause, let me know!)


  2. New York: Day 8 - Back home

    Sunday, August 28, 2011

    Greetings from Hurricane-free Camrose! We are back at home, weary and recovering from our trip.
    We headed to the airport at 4 a.m. to catch our 8 a.m. flight, and it was a good thing we did. The baggage check line for Air Canada snaked around the corner, almost to other airline check-in spots, causing some confusion for travellers on other airlines.

    We got through everything with an hour to spare at the gate, so we grabbed some coffee and relaxed. When we boarded it was foggy and a little rainy, but no hurricane weather yet. I think we were probably one of the last flights out before they shut the airport down. Because of the rebooking, G and I were seperated. I spent the flight watching Bringing Up Baby (1938) and trying not to laugh out loud, in case I frightened the woman seated next to me who was scared of flying (poor thing!).

    Cary Grant - hubba hubba

    I really enjoyed the film - it sounded famillar to me and I instantly recognized the story line as soon as the opening credits rolled, even though I had never seen it - except I fell asleep at 18 minutes to the end when they were all in jail (which is a key scene apparently and I missed it. Movie fail) and when I woke up, Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant were just proclaiming their love in the Natural History Museum, so I may have to go back and revisit that progression. :)
    Sidenote: Cary Grant is so so so sexy in this film. Watch it for that if nothing else.

    After the flight we landed in Calgary, where we had to go through customs, grab our bags, go through security and board within 30 minutes. PANIC. I had assumed that we would go through customs in Newark, not Calgary and so I was a little stressed out for that time. Also, Calgary airport (like the city) is sprawled out and huge, and the customs is so far away from the connections. Luckily we made it just as the line as going through for our boarding. Phew!

    Then, we were one our plane (a Air Canada Jazz Dash 8, which is one of my favourite planes because it was teeny-tiny and has propellers) for the incredibly short 38 minute flight to Edmonton (beats a three-hour drive!). What was not on that itty-bitty-plane were our bags. Because of weight restrictions on such a tiny aircraft, our bags were left in Calgary but were later flown to Edmonton and dropped off at our place in Camrose last night around 9pm. That was totally fine with me - one less thing to haul around!

    We spent the rest of yesterday and most of today relaxing and just lazing about.


    One exciting that I found when I got home was my birthday present from G sitting on the kitchen table.

    It's Vintage Hairstyling by Lauren Rennells! Lots of other vintage bloggers have bought and reviewed the book, so it was on my birthday wishlist (yes, I made him a birthday wishlist) and I was so happy to have received it. I'm a complete hairstyling noob so I'm looking forward to the tips and inspiration. I also happened to find Motions Foaming Wrap Lotion in the grocery store today. Ashley from Lisa Freemont Street recently did a review on it (I have yet to watch the video portion, actually) so I'm excited to have found it.

    I am currently using another product by Aveda, but I didn't want to pass up this stuff as it is so hard to find stuff in Camrose. The 100 ml bottle of Aveda Be Curly - Style Prep cost me $26 at the salon and is still quite full since I bought it in June, but I'll be trying Motions tonight to see what it's like!

    Well, that's all for our New York vacation. Even thought it was cut short by a day we had a blast and I hope you enjoyed following along. If not, well this blog will return to its regular programming.


  3. Thanks to Hurricane Irene, this will be the second-last New York related post from us (tomorrow will be a travel wrap-up, if we have the energy to write). We are leaving a day early (in 3 hours or so, actually) because of the impending storm. They'll actually shutting down airports after noon, so we've scheduled our flight for 8 a.m. Saturday instead of 8 a.m. Sunday. Fingers crossed we actually get home without delays!

    Once we figured all that stuff out, we decided to head out to Central Park to spend our last day in the Big Apple trying to relax before some inevitable travel stress. In fact, I'm getting knots just thinking about it. Moving on....

    We started off the day by being interviewed by my sister paper, the Edmonton Sun. I sound really wussy in it, I'm sure, but I don't want to be stuck here during a vacation. Yes I'm a reporter, but staying in a strange city in a hurricane doesn't sound like my cup of tea. Besides, if you were on vacation would you be doing any extra work?

    As an ex-reporter I wanted to stay and be a part of the chaos, even if that meant watching from the sixth floor. Of course this is easier to think about than actually be a part of. I'm sure once the streets started flooding and people started looting, I'd want to be home in my comfy bed eating ice cream (something I can do again!) Overall it just makes more sense for us to leave early than bet on the hurricane not hitting the east coast. Laurie also feels a lot better now, which is good because her peace of mind is often mine too.

    After getting off the phone with the reporter, we headed to ShakeShack again to pick up some burgers to eat in the park. What can I say, it was too delicious not to do twice.

    We ended up getting doubles. I think America's eating habits may have brushed off on us during the trip, but these are some seriously good fast food burgers. The key seems to be the higher quality of ground beef they use and the fact that all their burgers are cooked medium. The cheddar cheese also has a nice rich flavour to it. We never did try their shakes, but that will be for the next visit.

    A ShakeShack picnic in Central Park. The pigeons were sooo jealous!
    We enjoyed a gorgeous view and a nice breeze on the lake.

    We saw some turtles relaxing as well! They were headed to the Shake Shack.

    The we got suckered into one of those rickshaw tours around Central Park. For $25 per person, it wasn't that great. If you do want to take the rickshaw tour through Central Park, please make sure your guide can speak English clearly. Our guide, who was from Turkey, was incredibly hard to understand and since we're polite Canadians, we just nodded and pretended to understand him. Lesson learned, but G did get to spot Woody Allen's house.

    It's the one with the red roof. Garret is sooo jealous of him!

    Then we walked home during sunset. It was amazing but it seemed to warn of the impending storm, even though it's not due to hit the area until tomorrow evening.

    Just off Columbus square.

    The Met Opera House/Lincoln Centre.
    Before we came back, Garret made sure to pick up a lot of his new lactose wonder cure, which he can't find in Canada. I have about 1/2 a year's worth now. These green little pills are like gold to me. I take one in the morning and I feel invincible. When we get home I'm throwing out the vegan margarine and going right back to cultured butter. Hell, I might even put cream in my coffee!
    We'd like to thank Dan, Mama and Paloma for opening up their wonderful home for us to stay. Without this housesitting opportunity, this trip wouldn't have been possible. Thank you so, so much Dan for helping us create some wonderful memories and we're sorry we had to cut our trip short. Mama and Paloma never really did warm up to us, but we did our best to feed and refill their water bowl, and occasionally pet them when they would let us... they probably could tell Laur and I are dog people. On a serious note, I would also like to thank Dan for letting us be a part of his humble abode and for all the help he provided before arriving to the Big Apple. Your generosity and trust will be long remembered as gift that allowed us to fully enrich our perspective of the world and to grow as more cultured individuals. We can't thank you enough for this opportunity!

    Next time we write, hopefully we will be back in Canada (or at least away from a hurricane!)

    Until then,
    Laurie and Garret

  4. Is it really day 6 already? This trip has flown by so fast that I still feel like we just stepped off the train for the first time. We've gotten so used to the subway, the people and the weather. At the end of the day my feet didn't even hurt anymore!

    We started the day off a little bit later. When we left the Bronx the sky looked foreboding and when we came out above ground it was pouring, so we decided to forgo the view from The Top of The Rock, since you wouldn't even be able to see anything.  

    And my umbrella that I bought for $5 from the shady guy on the corner was starting to fall a part and rust. You can always tell a New Yorker from a tourist on a rainy day because all the tourist buy the shady-guy's cheap, plastic umbrella (like I did) and the New Yorker who has the reinforced, industrial sized umbrella that could stop a hurricane. Which supports my theory that everything is a little bigger in NYC. Even the squirrels are a little bit bigger than the squirrels back home, but my theory is the squirrels and rats have some how crossbred.

    Instead we headed to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to get out of the rain. Clearly a lot of people had that thought because it was packed! Art galleries and museums should be quiet and relaxing, but that wasn't my MoMa experience at all.

    Someone clearly gave up on this IKEA chandelier


    G and his Pollock

    Nevertheless, I loved it. It was nicely laid out (I hate confusing layouts of museums) and there was a really big range of exhibits. I loved the photography, design and architecture, although the feature exhibit Talk to Me was also really cool.

    Post-MoMa we went to the gift shop and I finally bought something! I picked up some magnets and a Breakfast at Tiffany's poster. I hope to buy more today so when I get home I'll do a wrap-up post.

    After MoMa we went to the American Museum of Natural History until it closed. Remember how I said MoMa was so wonderful because it was nicely laid out? AMNH was not.

    The outside of the building was gorgeous, but I wish they had kept the interior in the same vein.

    We were so confused the whole time about where we were that we probably missed some really cool exhibits, but we did see the evolution exhibit, some animal exhibits, and the dinosaurs (including our ole pal from back home, the Albertosaurus). It seems like we didn't really get to see a lot, we spent most of the time trying to find out where we were.

    This was the point in the day where we realized we hadn't eaten anything! But we were really close to Central Park, so we went off to find the Dakota - where John Lennon was shot - and then Strawberry Fields. The Dakota was so beautiful (and old, it was built in 1881). I think Yoko still lives there?

    The we trekked off to find food. We were both craving something fast and cheap, and then we found Shake Shack. I had heard about it, so I wanted to give it a go. We managed to find a table just as our food was done, and we didn't need it for very long because we devoured our food (which is why there's no photo). Maybe it's just because I hadn't eaten all day, but it was possibly the best burger I've had. I need to go back.
    After that we strolled over to a nearby Pinkberry, because Garret had heard about it on Curb Your Enthusiasm and product placements always work so well on him.

    It was also amazing - I had a peanut butter yogurt with chocolate crunch, which was perfect. The staff was also really nice and helpful. If you have either of these resturants near you, you should go.

    After that we decided to call it an early night. We've had a busy three days of rushing around doing touristy things, so we decided to have a night in of watching brainless TV and a change to sleep-in in the morning. Today we don't have too many plans, so we've decided to go back to just wandering the city (and hopefully shop some more). There's now big hurricane warnings, so we may have to alter the rest of our trip. We'll be in touch!

    Until tomorrow,
    Laurie and Garret

  5. New York: Day 5 - Please form a line

    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    The second day of hard-core touristiness has really taken a toll. I feel like I've been hit by a truck: my feet hurt, my ankles hurt, my head hurts.... but we're going to keep on powering through. Day 6 / Thursday is the last day we have the passes, so we're going to try to fit in the Natural History museum, the Top of the Rock and MoMA, and hopefully Strawberry Fields and the Dakota.

    Sorry about my lack of commentary yesterday. We often do these blog posts in the morning and it's sometimes just hard to get my ass out of bed, let alone writing. We're definitely at the point in our travels where our energy and excitement can't quite override the physical wear and tear of pounding the pavement day in and day out.

    Yesterday we hit the town early (for us) and took in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This place is ginormous! We didn't even make a dent in it. A lot of the installations are actually built into the museums structure. A Greek temple entrance or at least a section of it may lead into an adjoining room. Even whole 17th century French palace rooms have been pieced back together. We started with early Roman and Greek art:

    The Greek column behind Laurie was originally from a temple.

    G and his main man Socrates

    My main man.... ahhhhhh!
    Then we made our way to Oceania, then Modern Art, then Baroque/Renaissance:

    These were masks originally used by tribes that inhabited what is now Australia.
    There was a somewhat tiny but interesting installation on modern furniture design. I really liked this lamp.

    Some rich bastard once lived in this room.
    Finally we ended up in Egypt:

    Post-Met we walked a few blocks uptown to the Guggenheim. They didn't allow photos past the ground floor, which was fine with me because I found the exhibit a bit boring. I was mostly there for the architecture.

    "Come for the architecture and maybe look at the art," is possibly the best way to explain the Guggenheim. The exhibit that was on was entitled Beyond Infinity, but I think Beyond Bullshit would have been more appropriate. Thankfully the Guggenheim also had a collection of Kandinsky (one of my favourite artists) on display, which really made up for the main exhibit.

    After the Guggenheim we made our way to Grand Central Station, which is huge and so packed full of people (remember, I don't like crowds).

    Then we made our way to the Top of the Rock, but due to line we wouldn't make it up in time for sunset, so we bought our tickets for Thursday instead and went to the Empire State Building observatory.

    There were so. many. lines. And this was at 8, 9 at night. It was ridiculous! And once we got out to the observatory deck, it was so crammed with people that you could barely see anything anyway. It wasn't my favourite part of the trip, that's for sure. But I did appreciate the view and the building itself.
    So impressed

    The lobby was gorgeous and I couldn't imagine having to build it without any of the construction safety features we have today. I tend to get a little bit of vertigo (I'm not scared of heights - I'm scared of somehow falling off them) so I could only imagine what it was like building the thing.

    I would probably never recommend the Empire State Building to anybody visiting NYC, unless of course they're willing to buy the super expensive express tickets that go to the higher observation deck.

    By the time we were done I was just grumpy and sleepy and wanted to go home! Now today we're off again, but Friday and Saturday promise to be a little slower and relaxing (I hope!)

    Until tomorrow,
    Laurie and Garret