January 31, 2013

Get Fit (& January Must-Reads)

Question of the month: How often do you work out? What's your preferred method of exercise?

I exercise 4-5x a week. Right now I am taking Zumba and yoga classes, and mixing those with cardio/strength training at the gym. Zumba is probably my favourite workout (I've been taking classes for about 3 years), but I find fitness classes in general to be the most fun since you have the guidance of an instructor and the exercises are always varied. While in Calgary, for example, I also dabbled in ballet barre workouts. Now that I'm back in Vancouver, I'm planning on getting a personal trainer because I want to learn how to deadlift!

And while we're on the topic of working out, I thought I'd share a few health and fitness-related items that are currently on my wishlist:

1. oGorgeous Beverly Bow Yoga Bag
2. Nike Free Run 3+ Running Shoes (here)
3. Flavour It Glass Water Bottle w/ Built-In Fruit Infuser

P.S. Don't forget to check out the other girls' answers to this question and their must-reads for the month of January.

January 25, 2013

Duty-Free Haul: Dior Eye Designer and Rose Collection Palettes

One of the main perks of travelling (apart from arriving at your final destination, of course) is duty-free shopping. And one of the best parts of duty-free shopping? The travel-exclusive makeup palettes!

Many cosmetics brands offer their own versions of these palettes, but my favourite is Dior:

Dior Eye Designer Eye Makeup Palette and Dior Rose Collection Eyes & Lips Palette

Flipping through the duty-free catalogue on my most recent flight to Singapore, the Dior Eye Designer Eye Makeup Palette caught my attention immediately. It contains almost everything you need to create a complete eye look (it's missing an eye primer which is a necessity in my books): 3 co-ordinating eyeshadows, eyebrow powder, eyeliner, tweezers, a mini Diorshow Extase mascara, and two double-ended applicators. Complete with the handy velvet pouch, this is just perfect for throwing in your purse or for travelling. The price was $72 SGD (~ $60 CAD).

My parents also picked me up the Dior Rose Collection Eyes & Lips Palette on one of their trips a while ago. Unlike the eye palette, this one comes in Dior's classic cannage quilting with a dangling initial charm. Inside is a selection of light/pastel shades: 4 eyeshadows, a clear lip balm, 2 Dior Addict lipglosses, a Dior Addict lipstick, and two double-ended applicators. I believe this palette retailed for $67 SGD (~ $55 CAD).

If you like the looks of the Rose Collection, Dior appears to have re-released it as a Sephora exclusive called the Sweet Cherie Pinks Palette with its Spring 2013 Cherie Bow Collection. I find it a little odd that they're re-marketing it this way (simple rename of product with no changes) since it kind of takes away from the original exclusivity of the palette. But at least this move does make the product more accessible for those who won't be flying anytime soon.

January 23, 2013

Goodbye, Calgary!

As I previously mentioned, my time in Calgary is coming to an end... this weekend, in fact. That's right, in only a few short days I will be moving back to Vancouver!

This last outfit post from Calgary features one of my favourite buildings here, The Bow. Vancouver is often referred to as the "city of glass" so I suppose The Bow has kind of acted as a reminder of home for me these past 5 months. On that note, can you believe I've actually been away for 5 months? Craziness.

Tank: TNA (Aritzia) / Wrap: Winter Kate (in white) / Pants: Gap (here)
Flats: Sam Edelman (here) / Necklace: Charles & Grace (c/o)

January 20, 2013

Insta-Food: Calgary Eats & Treats

Since it's my last month in Calgary, I thought I'd share a few more places that I've been frequenting as a follow up to my Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner in Calgary post. You know... in case any of you ever happen to be in town (the likelihood of which, I realize, is probably quite slim). But I like food posts, so here we go!

Craft Beer Market

I'm not a huge fan of beer but Craft apparently has the largest selection of draft beer in Canada so I was actually able to find one that I like (in case you were wondering, it's Fruli, which tastes exactly like strawberries). They also offer a wide variety of food, including some amazing nachos which come served in the sawed-off bottom of a keg.

And some good news for Vancouverites: Craft is set to open up in the False Creek/Olympic Village area soon. I know it's been met with some controversy from area residents but  the city could really use a bar like this - if not there then somewhere else.

Address: 345 10th Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta
Website: http://www.craftbeermarket.ca


Who doesn't like cream puffs? Especially ones that you can customize! At Cruffs, you choose the shells and they will fill up your cream puffs with whatever filling you want, from the typical Chantilly cream to mango or Baileys (plus more). As a coconut lover, I especially love the coconut shell filled with coconut cream. Yum!

I wish we had a place like this in Vancouver (Beard Papa's is good but not the same) because they make the perfect treats to share with friends or for parties. Hint hint, Cruffs...

Address: 2312A 4th Street SW, Calgary, Alberta
Website: http://www.cruffs.com

Clive Burger

Clive Burger is a hip burger joint on 17th Avenue with some great minimalist decor and a cool ambiance. Using locally sourced products, they make simple but delicious burgers with your choice of fixings. I'm told their fries are to-die-for as well, but unfortunately can't eat them since they're cooked in peanut oil and I'm deathly allergic. So sad!

Instead of classic milkshakes, Clive is also known for their custard shakes which come in 4 flavours: chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and cherry. They are as decadent as they sound and so so good.

Address: 736 17th Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta
Website: http://www.cliveburger.com

Jelly Modern Doughnuts

You may remember that I went on a bit of a gourmet doughnut bender last summer, so I was excited to find Jelly Modern Doughnuts here in Calgary. They are considered Canada's original gourmet doughnut bakery, and I've even seen them on the Food Network before.

Unlike the heavier/cakey doughnuts that I'm used to, Jelly Modern's classic doughnuts are light and fluffy with a range of different fillings. I've tried quite a few now and I'd say my favourites are the Coconut and the Carrot Cake (which you saw in this post).

Jelly Modern also makes sandwiches out of their doughnuts, which you can buy if you're looking for something more savoury.

Address: 1414 8th Street SW, Calgary, Alberta
Website: http://jellymoderndoughnuts.com

CHARCUT Roast House

Alberta is known for its beef and I was determined to find some good steak somewhere in the city. Well, I'd say CHARCUT has it. In fact, I think CHARCUT may actually be my favourite steak restaurant. Ever.

This place is on the more expensive side since the menu is à la Carte but it is so worth it. The Spring Creek Butcher Steak I had was cooked to perfection and the Smashed Poplar Bluff potatoes with sour cream, rosemary, and house-smoked bacon were divine.

And don't even get me started on the dessert... cheesecake in a jar. I am drooling just thinking about it. I could seriously eat at least 2 of these (or more but then I'd probably be accused of gluttony).

If you are ever in Calgary and you like steak, you have to go here!

Address: 899 Centre Street SW, Calgary, Alberta
Website: http://www.charcut.com

January 17, 2013

Sanctuary Spa Bathtime Bliss Set

I love trying out new brands and was recently introduced to Sanctuary Spa by their PR. Sanctuary Spa, an actual spa located in London's Covent Garden, developed their namesake line of skincare and body products based on the expertise of their therapists and feedback from thousands of guests. Because all of the products are used in the spa's actual treatments, what you get are spa-quality products that are widely available (in the UK, at least) at fairly affordable prices (products start at £10).

I was sent the Bathtime Bliss Set to try out, which is a great sampler of products. It includes Sanctuary's Luxury Bath Float and Body Lotion, along with a Classic Fragrance Diffuser and candles to create a relaxing atmosphere.

The Luxury Bath Float creates clouds of frothy bubbles and though I'm not usually a fan of oriental scents, this one is not too heavy. A bath with this is the perfect way to wind down after a stressful day.

The Body Lotion is a light moisturizer that absorbs quickly. Scented with a mix of ginger and fragrant spices, I was expecting something similar to the popular Origins Ginger Souffle line. However, the ginger here is not very strong so it's good for those with sensitive noses.

I thought the votive candles were a nice touch (you can never have too many!) but my favourite product from this set was the Classic Fragrance Diffuser. Unlike other diffusers I've used in the past, this one actually works to constantly impart a comforting fragrance of citrus, bergamot, and jasmine, followed by a sensuous combination of vanilla, patchouli, and sandalwood. I put this in my living room and love how it now smells like a spa!

January 14, 2013

The BB Dakota Koa Coat

You guys might remember when I managed to hunt down that Marc by Marc Jacobs Babylon Stripe Cardigan I had been lusting after on major sale. Well, I think the BB Dakota Koa Coat is this year's MBMJ sweater.

BB Dakota had a version of this coat out last year that first caught my eye when I saw a girl on the bus wearing it. I went home that day and did some Internet sleuthing to find out who made it but of course it ended up being sold out everywhere. When they released a similar coat again, I immediately added it to my wishlist and was able to snag one at 65% off from Hautelook!

While the Hautelook sale has come and gone, this coat is now on sale on a few websites. Try here, here, here, here, and here.

Coat: BB Dakota (here) / Jeggings: 7 For All Mankind / Boots: Steve Madden
Bag: Matt & Nat / Headband: Anthropologie (similar) / Gloves: Club Monaco

Honestly, I never have any luck with these flash sale websites (I'm always surprised at how quickly items get snatched up) but this time my frantic refreshing of the page actually worked! 

January 11, 2013

What's in my Makeup Bag? (& December Must-Reads)

Question of the month: What make-up do you carry around in your handbag?

It's been a while since my previous "What's in my bag?" post, in which I also gave you a peek into my makeup bag, so it's about time that I shared an update! Here are a few of the items I'm currently toting around (although I do regularly switch out my lip products):

MAC Studio Fix (here), MAC Pressed Blot Powder (here), Lippy Girl Lip Love Lip Conditioning Stick, MAC Lipstick in Shy Girl (here), Za Plumper Lips Lipstick in Sunset Glow, NARS Lipgloss in Giza (here)

Non-makeup items in my makeup bag include hand sanitizer, hand cream, a nail file, hair ties, bobby pins, and Band-Aids. 

P.S. Don't forget to check out the other girls' answers to this question and their must-reads for the month of December (we're a bit late this time due to the busy holiday season).

January 9, 2013

Metallic Sparkle

As someone who is used to dropping considerable cash at my tailors, eShakti is a great option for getting well-fitting clothing without having to pay a ton. Through their website, customers can tailor any item's design and fit using a series of built-in customization tools for only $7.50 extra.

I decided to customize the Bow Collar Boucle Jacket (unfortunately now out of stock) with 3/4 sleeves instead of full-length ones and I think it turned out really cute. The metallic thread interwoven throughout, which was hard to capture on camera, also adds a fun bit of extra sparkle.

Jacket: eShakti (c/o) / Dress: H&M / Shoes: Nine West / Bag: Kate Spade
Watch: Michael Kors (here) / Cuff: Soo Ihn Kim (here)

By the way, how cute is my new Kate Spade Bow Valley Rosa? I had been coveting this for ages and was lucky enough to receive it for Christmas!

January 3, 2013

End of Year/Beginning of Year Snapshots

It's a little belated, but HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I'm finally back in Calgary after a whirlwind of travel (and many delayed flights). Seriously hoping that I can get over my jet lag and back onto a normal schedule soon! In the meantime, here are some snapshots from the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013:

Delicious crème brûlée at Teatro

Adorable handmade gift from Fort Smith

Brunch at Milestones with their popular coconut & pear pancakes

Lucked out with lots of legroom on my flight from Vancouver to Beijing

My new Miu Miu St. Cocco Bracelet in Antico

Bathtime bliss with H2O+ Sea Salt Bath Fizz

Some initialed decor for my mantel

Yummy Krigler perfume samples: English Promenade, Chateau Krigler, Relaxing Verbena

As always, you can keep up-to-date with my Instagram photos online or by following me @alison_elle.

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