...fashion friday: feminimalism

Feminimalism. Fe-mi-ni-ma-lis-m. A new fashion term coined by net-a-porter (at least, that's where I first read it) to describe this upcoming trend of feminine, minimalist, nude tones. It would be so refreshing and simple, after seasons of mixed colors, ruffles and layering (I'm looking at you Jcrew and Anthro), to just slip on this silk sheath, killer shoes and head out the door.

1. clutch, tory burch, 2. dress, gucci, 3. shoes, camilla skovgaard, 4. cuffs, maison martin. all net-a-porter.com

I don't have the lifestyle to dress like this, but this is the perfect outfit for a special summer event.

Just stay away from the red wine, if you're a klutz like me.


...wednesday wish: color me happy

'Life experiences bring more happiness than material things'. I believe it. But will rock climbing or scuba diving really make me happier than this pink Balenciaga?! I'm scared of heights and water.

this bag brings me to my knees. balenciaga.com
A brightly colored bag is the perfect way to banish the winter blues if you can't get away. But please, do not match your bag to your shoes, and balance your brights with neutrals.You knew that.

If pink's not your thing, and Balenciaga is too gauche (I completely understand), here are some other options....
red: kate spade, yellow: jil sander, orange: versace, green: marc by marc jacobs. net-a-porter.com
Would you consider a bright handbag, or are you sticking to neutrals?


There's a new magazine lifestyle publication in town... Matchbook may be the one that converts me from paper to digital.

are you a matchbook girl?

Read Matchbook here.


...tuesday shoes day: escada

I love these shoes so much that I cursed when I first saw them. "Damn! These sandals are so f*ing gorgeous," I said to imaginary bffs Ally, Nora and Carrie. The girls oohed and aahed in agreement, and we continued to sip our 32 oz Trenta Starbucks skinny quadruple shot lattes and nibbled on one shared pomegranate bran muffin.

escada embossed sandal, elle.com
Well, only the cursing part is true. But these sandals are SO fantastic, the sight of it sent me straight to my imaginary alternate universe. *sigh*

Now meet Mindy, the hilarious new girl...
you've got mindy


...hot yoga: moksha vs bikram, the debate

Hot yoga gives me my mojo. Without hot yoga, I'm lost, lazy and blue.

bikram yoga tri cities, jasperphoto.com

Notice I specifically said 'hot yoga'. To me, non-heated classes are boring and strictly for beginners. And notice I didn't say Bikram yoga. Bikram is the exercise-love-of-my-life but when my membership at the Bikram studio expired in November, I didn't renew. I grew tired of the teachers, the cancelled classes, how there seemed to be fewer and fewer students each month, and the studio in general.
moksha yoga vancouver

Luckily, a brand new spa-like Moksha yoga studio opened nearby and I've resumed my practice.  Moksha was my introduction to hot yoga years ago, so I've done enough classes in both disciplines to make a somewhat educated comparison.

Here's how they measure up, in my opinion:

The heat, the rooms, the studios
  • The heat in the Bikram room hits you as soon as you enter. It's 110 degrees--like a sauna, or hotter if you're lucky. On the other hand, I've called Moksha the 'warm' yoga. The room is cool compared to Bikram, about 104 degrees.
  • I hated the practice room in my old Bikram studio, particularly the horrible fluorescent lighting and the spongy carpeted flooring. I believe Bikram himself requires all studios to be this way. The new Moksha studio room is dimly lit, with one long large mirrored wall, and a very clean tile floor. 
  • The Bikram studio seemed neglected, reception was roomy, but I didn't dare use the showers.  Did I say the Moksha studio was spa-like? There are 3 full shower stalls with glass doors. Privacy in a change room, what a concept! And extra points for the foyer with lots of individual cubbies for our boots and a faux leather bench for for seating.
Advantage? Tie. Moksha - 1 pt each for the room and the studio, Bikram - 1 pt for the heat, but that's the most important part, so I'll double that score.

The classes.  Bikram classes are ALWAYS 90 minutes. Moksha classes are either 90 or 60 minutes; and they'd probably have a 30 minute class if people suggested. And then, why bother? Advantage? Bikram.

The dialogue
  • Bikram teachers go to 10 week long teacher training to learn an exact word-for-word 'script'. Dialogue is memorized and the 26 poses are described by the teacher, whomever it may be, exactly the way Bikram wants it to be said. I love that no matter who is teaching, whether I like or understand the teacher, and whether that teacher whispers or shouts, that I am going to do pranayama, arna chandrasana, padahastasana, and so on, in that exact order and twice. It's oddly comforting even in a bootcamp like setting.
  • Moksha teachers and their dialogue vary widely. This drives me absolutely crazy. You never know how the teacher will start the class and how long before you even start sweating. One teacher was a very slow talker, very gentle, and 10 minutes into a 90 minute class we were still using our right arm as a pillow in some sort of savasana.  We didn't have time to do camel, rabbit or reclining hero. However, another teacher was fantastic. There was a quick flow to his class and we even did the challenging poses twice (runner's lunge, prayer twist). If only he taught every class.
 Advantage? Bikram, 1 pt.

The poses
  • There is very little ab work in Bikram. We do sit ups through out the floor series, but it's to get to another pose. Moksha classes spend a lot of time on ab work, which I dread. Especially because each teacher has their own style, so I'm not even sure this is taught at Moksha training. They seem to be Pilates-based, so I doubt it's even yoga.
  • I've now learned to love Moksha's standard series of vinyasa 'downward dog' flows. Bikram has no vinyasa flows.

Advantage? Moksha, 2 pts. I can't tell you how much I detest ab work, but you know how they say 'you need what you hate'? Have you seen my abs? Exactly. And the arm work couldn't hurt.

Hot yoga for weight loss? A 60 to 100 day Bikram challenge is a guaranteed way to lose weight, even for my increasingly rebellious metabolism.

I'm not sure if I will achieve results with a Moksha challenge, but I will certainly try!

So ... that was a very long introduction just to declare that I am beginning an intense 30 (to 60, to 100) day Moksha yoga challenge with a specific goal. I will chronicle every boring and painful detail of my progress (including my yoga outfits, my diet, and my feelings....zzzz) here.

Advantage? Mine. Namaste.

Update: Read the final verdict in my Bikram vs Moksha debate, here.

Bikram Yoga: The Guru Behind Hot Yoga Shows the Way to Radiant Health and Personal Fulfillment 


...saturday sale: GAP 40% off entire purchase today only

I received this email from Gap today, just as I was admiring their spring lookbook.

Get 40% off your Gap purchase.
Saturday, January 22. Gap Canada stores only.

I liked Gap's winter and holiday 2010 collection, and the spring lookbook looks promising. Gap is always great for basics, but the quality and sizing has been frustratingly inconsistent lately.

Nevertheless, it's a good time to take advantage of Gap's offer so I can copy this simple but professional Glamour Do. It's a perfect look for any weekend or casual Friday.
I love her chignon, but not the leopard bag. glamour.com
1. high rise skinny jeans (to minimize the muffin top) in my preferred dark wash $70; 2. shrunken blazer $98; 3. perfect striped shirt $50, all Gap.  4. cole haan stephanie pumps, piperlime.com

Notice how I didn't include a bag similar to the one pictured. I think fall 2010's leopard print overkill killed the love for leopard (temporarily). Fashionistas are suggesting that our spring bags will be bright and colourful, and I agree! However, handbags deserve their own post. I'll save it for Wednesday. 
I hope you have a lovely weekend. If you're braving the cold weather, good for you. Although it seems that winter will never end,  I have confidence that spring will come again. For now, bundle up!


...fashion friday: what i'm really wearing

fur trapper hat, h&m.com
In Canada during the darkest days of winter, fur is NOT politically incorrect. It's a necessity. I've been wearing a fur trapper hat (fake, $15 from h&m) just to run errands. Today I wore the hat when I picked up Precious from school. There I sat in the parking lot waiting for my son, wearing my trapper hat. Let's just say, he was not amused.

not me, but you get the picture
It's so cold I'm not ashamed to say I've been wearing my mom's full length mink coat more often. I'm tempted to wear the coat to yoga. Last weekend I wore it church and then the grocery store. I do TRY to avoid looking exactly like my mother (...the horror of looking in the mirror and seeing your mother!) by mixing it up with a somewhat youthful look of nautical striped tee, thermal fleece running pants tucked into boots, swingy ponytail and bright red lipstick.
that's marion cotillard and her ponytail, the rest is mine. the coat is huge--full length means full coverage.

It goes without saying that I would never wear the fur hat with the mink coat. That would be a crime.

But please, for the fur... don't judge me. It's freezing!

...fashion friday: club monaco spring lookbook

The Club Monaco spring lookbook arrived in my mailbox, just as meteorologists are forecasting more snow this week. How cruel. Hmm, let's put a positive spin on this... I  am looking forward to wearing and seeing these spring styles from my Canadian store.

Do you love how the model is wearing her hair up in a sophisticated chignon? The hairstyle may be inspired by Black Swan, but I haven't even seen the movie yet and this is how I prefer to wear my hair these days.  However, the crew socks/peep toe ankle boots combo just looks silly to me.

The Good: 1. loose, belted silky dress looks really cute and comfy; 2. scoopneck tee and matching skirt, so sophisticated on the right figure, not mine, sadly; 3. cm makes the best blouses.

The Really Good: 1. love this tailored blazer and pointy flats; 2. is that a cashmere short sleeve sweat? hubbahubba; 3. long sleeveless jacket reminds me of the outfit carrie wore when she went to the library in SATC1.

The Bad: 1. belted bustier strapless prairie dress, really?!; 2. the top half is really good but the bottom half reminds me of my pj shorts; 3. the top half is ok but if the inverted pleat twill skirt doesn't look good on the model, imagine the rest of us. And those crew socks/peep toe ankle boots combo really have to go away. 

How many months left until spring?


...thursday talk: dreams

Crank it, stay down, shoulder, chin...
 I have a dream...I'm dancing Double Dream Hands,

wearing this glamorous, warm, but so wrong fur cape,

tory burch fur cape, neiman marcus
and my long hair is styled to perfection.

anchorwoman/soccer mom hairdo on reese, laineygossip.com
Just dreams.


...wednesday wish: collection

eiffel tower, anthropologie
I collect replica Eiffel Towers. I can't remember when 2 towers became 4 towers but now I've lost count, and there must be at least 30 of them in my house. The smallest, found on a trip to Vegas, is about the size of a thimble. The tallest is 6 feet tall and stands outside my powder room. I display them on our bar, on the coffee table, and hanging on a glittery Eiffel Tower 'tree'. My towers are made of chrome, brass, wire, paper, tin, ceramic, and everything else that can be shaped into this famous landmark

There is a story behind each piece in my collection. I hadn't been in Paris 12 hours and I'd already purchased 10 minis near a rue Rivoli tourist trap. I've found them everywhere, usually when travelling, even if I'm nowhere near France (for example, the Target in Maine). I was once at an upscale boutique near my home that had several plastic replicas on display, not for sale, but to tie in to their Paris theme. I asked if I could buy one, and they were kind enough to just give it to me.That was a good day. Towers make me happy.

My newest tower is 1' tall, made of cardboard and spray glitter. It is a gift from my much missed former boss, the beloved Evil Genius. And as much as I treasure all my towers (like a mother loves all her children equally), this will be my favorite, the one I prize above all.


...tuesday shoes day: platforms

I want to live in a climate where I can wear these platform sandals, outdoors, 98% of the time. Which means, not here.


...Golden Globes live blog with updates

How I enjoy watching the Golden Globe Awards! TV and movie stars get dressed up, party it up, and the hosts and presenters seem much more relaxed than at the Oscars. Of course the awards mean nothing, and mostly it's about the fashion. I live for this stuff.

The awards 'ceremony' just started and I've already spent most of the late afternoon and evening in front of the tv watching the red carpet fashion and Ryan Seacrest.

Tonight's carpet is full of ruffles, nude tones, reds and pinks, dark green, and black. My vote for Best Dressed goes to the lovely Emma Stone.

In a night full of ruffles, Emma Stone is best dressed in this simple peach Calvin Klein collection gown. Love this!

Brother-Kissing Homewrecker, along with actresses I actually like, chose to wear gowns of emerald green (a colour I hate). Sorry Peggy Olson.
8:05: Lovin' Ricky Gervais so far. He's already cracked jokes about Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson, Hugh Hefner and the gay Scientologists, and 'The Tourist'. Ha!

8:10: Scarlett Johannson, who is one of the hottest women on earth for sure is not showing off her assets tonight, but she chose to draw attention to herself with her 'Bride of Frankenstein' hairdo.

8:20: Leighton Meester is presenting something, I don't know, because I'm distracted by her horrible dress. Clearly Leighton shares a stylist with Scarlett Johansson, and they thought they were attending the Country Music Awards. How else to explain their Reba McEntire dresses? 

Beauties, you're not Reba!

8:25: Bruce Willis! Totally bald now but somehow still sexy. Looks like he's ready to kill Ricky Gervais for the Ashton Kutcher joke.

8:30: How old is Michelle Pfeiffer? Still gorgeous and so thin.

8:32: Eva Longoria nearly tripped on her stunning black dress. Unfortunately she gets to introduce someone really boring.

I love this dress on Eva Longoria!

8:35: Best Actor Drama. Jon Hamm looks humble and adorable and his hair looks beautiful tonight. Unfortunately they don't award for looks (or for best acting and charisma either), because Steve Buscemi just won. Major bummer.

8:38: Boardwalk Empire wins over Mad Men and The Good Wife for Best TV Drama. I'm still bitter that Lost, the best show ever, wasn't even nominated. What a joke.

8:40: Close up to Angelina Brother-kissing Homewrecker fixing Pitt's tie. I HATE this show.

8:44: Andrew Garfield, love that charming Brit accent even if he's blowing his bit introducing 'The Social Network'. Love this movie, even with JT. There's Jesse Eisenberg, looking like he'd rather be home watching in his pjs. Cute bits from Gervais about Heather Mills.

8:46 Alec Baldwin and JLo, who looks radiant, presenting Best Song. Cue the cheesy clips. Some song from Burlesque wins. Time to get heat up some pesto pizza and get a glass of red wine to wash it down. What the heck happened to Christina Aguilera's face?!

8:50: Best Score nominees and clips, including Inception. Facebook movie wins, deservedly.

8:56: Justin Beiber (and his stupid hair) and the extremely talented Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), as the young ones, present Best Animated pic, which predictably goes to Toy Story 3. First glimpse of Colin Firth! And Brangelina PDA. Please STOP.

9:00: Gervais can't resist the Robert Downey Jr rehab jokes.Downey is presenting Best Actress, Comedy and he's the best presenter of the night so far. There's Annette Bening (love her black glasses) and Warren Beatty! Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams (who always brings her Dawson's Creek costar, Busy Phillips)! And Annette wins! She's beautiful and classy, and naturally gives a gracious speech, thanking Julianne Moore and the '1962 winner for most promising actor', Warren Beatty! Love her deep voice. And there's Mark Ruffalo, who always looks rumpled but still with that sexy vibe, you know?

9:12: Geoffrey Rush and Tilda Swinton presenting a tv award to Al Pacino. Al just kissed someone who looks really young enough to be his granddaughter. Well maybe she was. And first standing ovation of the night. For some reason, they're showing Robert De Niro during Pacino's speech. Time for more drinks. No, the chick is Pacino's girlfriend.

9:16: Best Actress, Tv movie or mini series goes to Claire Danes. Thank god, because I was afraid it would go to Jennifer Love Hewitt, whew. Danes looks lovely in her bright pink Calvin Klein (who is now my favorite designer tonight), but she really really needs to eat.

Claire Danes in Calvin Klein

9:20: I admire Helena Bonham Carter's one of a kind style. Tonight she chose to wear non-matching shoes and something by Vivienne Westwood, as usual. Gotta love that.

9:25: Tina Fey and Steve Carrell presenting Best Screenplay. So funny! And the Globe goes to...Aaron Sorkin. Is it too early to predict a 'Social Network' sweep? There's Armie Hamer, who is really handsome, and will hopefully have a great career. Sorkin kisses up to Zuckerberg, and says 'smart girls have more fun', to make up for the fact the 'TSN' was demeaning to women. So he's not as much of a dick he appears to be.

9:30: Chris Evans and some tall Brit guy I don't recognize presents tv Best Supporting Actress to Jane Lynch. I'm tired of Glee, but Lynch is charmingly witty. There's Sandra Bullock, with thick bangs! Mila Kunis and James Franco! Michelle Wiliams and Jake Gyllenhaal (sob).  Time for a slice of red velvet.

9:37: I don't get the swooning for Robert Pattinson, too skinny, too pale. He's presenting Foreign Film.  'I Am Love' looks good in this 1 second clip, but it doesn't win. 

9:40: Helen Mirren looking hot, presents 'The King's Speech', which I almost watched this weekend, but instead chose 'The Dilemma'. And there's my Colin.

9:47: OMG Jane Fonda looks about the same age as Annette Bening. Too bad she's presenting 'Burlesque'.

Jane Fonda, born in 1937 (just like my mom!) is 21 years older than Annette Bening. And yet...

9:49: TV Best Actor Comedy goes to Jim Parsons for 'Big Bang Theory', which to this day I've never watched and never will.

9:51: Jeremy Irons over enunciates in his crisp Brit accent, and it's annoying. I want Hugh Grant back, and I want him to show Irons how this is done. Anyway, Melissa Leo wins Best Supporting Actress for 'The Fighter'. I used to watch her on 'Homicide' and she was amazing on 'Frozen River'. so good for her. It's great when these gifted character actors get recognized. Leo's 'co-nominees', Helena Bonham Carter and Mila Kunis, look like as if they want Melissa off the stage, now.

9:59: Matt Damon (not sure why) is presenting Cecil B Demille Award to Robert De Niro. Couldn't they get Joe Pesci, or even Ben Stiller? Damon gives Fredo's speech from Godfather2'; does he realize that Deniro didn't say those lines? Has he not seen Godfather2? Cue to clips from Godfather2, and um New York New York, and Raging Bull, and Goodfellas, and Midnight Run, and Cape Fear, and  now the good stuff, The Untouchables, Casino, Taxi Driver! Curiously, not 'Meet the Parents'. Standing ovation for Deniro! Did you know he's 67? He's aged well, I think. Please stop with the Brangelina sightings! And there's a teary Tom Hanks! Deniro is reading his speech from the teleprompter, and insults the waiters and the Foreign Press Awards. He's surprisingly funny.

10:14: Megan Fox (who could stand to gain 10-15 pounds) is presenting 'The Tourist', ugh. Bathroom break.

10:15: Annette Bening again, presenting Best Director. And the Globe goes to...David Fincher for 'The Social Network'. hmmm. But another win for 'TSN' means they'll show Armie Hamer. Fincher is directing the American version of 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo'. The Swedish version was so well done; I don't understand the need for a remake even if Daniel Craig plays Blomkvist in this version. Why mess it up?

10:18: Jimmy Fallon and January Jones (who I hate somewhat irrationally) presents Best TV Comedy to...Glee. This is not a good night for my favorite shows. Oh well. Lea Michele is wearing a pale pink Oscar de la Renta with lots of ruffles. How tall is Finn? He's towering over everyone on stage. Johnny Depp looks crazy, as usual.

10:24: Why is Alicia Keys presenting 'Black Swan'? And sounding like a New Orleans voodoo priestess when she speaks?

10:25: Halle Berry has an unbelievably stunning body! And the Globe for Best Actor Comedy goes to Paul Giamatti for 'Barney's Version', who can't stop swooning over "Halle Berry, jesus". I would have liked to see Jakey win, but clearly the Foreign Press people don't award actors for looks. At least Depp didn't win. Giamatti gives a shout out to Scott Speedman and Canada! yay!

10:33: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who should've received a nomination for Inception) is presenting the movie for Best Picture Drama. Love him, but I guess they couldn't get Leo.

10:34: Jeff Bridges presents Best Actress, Drama to... Natalie Portman, who gives a soulful kiss to her fiance before she walks onstage. She is EXQUISITE. She spends a lot of time talking about her fiance, gets kind geeky and gushy about him, which is endearing.

10:39: Funny bit from Gervais about Tom Hanks and Tim Allen (ha!) who are presenting Best Movie, Comedy to.... 'The Kids Are Alright". Meh, it's overrated if you ask me. But I suppose it is superior to the other nominees, especially 'The Tourist'. And Mark Ruffalo gets to go onstage.

10:43: Ryan Gosling! and Sandra Bullock! not together of course, but I think it's a perfect time to reunite.

10:47: Sandra Bullock is presenting Best Actor, Drama. I want Ryan to win. But the award goes to Colin Firth, who I also want to win! I'm psyched for a charming speech in a sexy accent. Lucky Mrs Firth.

10:52: It's past my bedtime and I am sleepy. I hope this ends soon.

10:55: Michael Douglas is onstage to present the final award of the evening (and not a moment too soon) and gets a standing ovation. The Best Drama goes to 'The Social Network'. What did I tell ya? Armie Hamer goes onstage (gosh he's tall), but Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield do not. So they too, are asked to go onstage. Hey, Justin Timberlake isn't there. Why not, I wonder?

10:59: And it ends on schedule. Goodnight.

Images: justjared.com


...fashion friday: yogi style

After a brief hiatus and a bit of goal setting, I'm proud to say that I'm back to practising yoga daily. Which means, it's time to reward myself with a new yoga outfit.
all you need for hot yoga: the challenge tank, challenge shorts, a non-skid towel and a bottle of water, lululemon

The truth is, I don't need a new outfit. I've been practising for several years now and have accumulated enough lululemon pieces to last the rest of my life.

Yet I can't resist their new Challenge line, which encourages you to 'challenge yourself to 40 days of yoga and this anti-stink tank will be with you every step of the way'. That's what it says, right there on the tag. Does that mean I can wear this stuff for 40 days and it won't stink even if I don't wash it? Yikes.

By the way, if you are a yogi and are tempted by these skidless towels, please don't buy these $55 towels at lulu. $55 for a towel is bullshit nonsense. Invest the money on the tank, then run to Winners, where you'll find yogarat non-skid towels for $20.



...thursday talk: Asian mothers are superior

Yale professor Amy Chua has written this controversial essay about the difference between Eastern and Western parenting styles, called "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior."  She details the differences in expectations between parents at either end of the spectrum. Read here. I agree with Chua, except I'd change the title of her essay to "Why Asian Mothers Are Superior"  and include some Filipinos. 

Chua's child rearing methods could be seen as abusive, but like all mothers, she only wants  the best for her children, and she doesn't give in to them. It's so easy to let a kid give up when the going gets tough. It takes patience and perseverance to make sure the kid doesn't. She didn't take the easy way out. It's hard to disagree with her; her young daughter is pictured here playing at Carnegie Hall. In fact, both of her daughters are musical prodigies, and their achievements didn't come without some kicking and screaming.

chua's daughter, wsj

On the other hand, it was revealed that Tom Hanks' young son is pursuing hip hop as a career and his parents are very supportive. Granted, this kid is set for life and could find success. But still...

hanks, hp
Hmmm, which style of parenting do you think is best?

Update: Wait, I didn't realize Chua wrote a book about this (and others). I'm not worthy.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother


...wednesday wish: prints

UGH. All the black and grey outerwear in the already bleak winter landscape is really depressing. Many of my fellow yogis arrive at the studio wearing a 'uniform' that's usually a dark parka and leggings tucked into UGG boots. So practical and boring. I'm really tired of it, as I've said before. And we have about 3 months of winter left.

So I just had to buy this lovely Karella coat from Anthro yesterday. It's anti-minimalist, anti-neutral, it's not me at all, and it's really not even that warm. But I just love it.  With all this colour and pattern (admittedly reminiscent of a Persian rug), I would only wear black jeans, a thin black sweater and black boots, and I'd even wear my hair up in a bun, just to balance everything that's going on.
karella coat, anthropologie
Speaking of prints... How lovely is this dress? It's hard to tell from the picture but I believe that's a Paris scene with the Seine and Eiffel Tower, and so named the Paris 50's prom dress. This wouldn't fit my not quite yoga-toned body right now and I'm DECADES away from my prom, but it would be perfect on my darling petite rorygilmore.

Paris 50s prom dress, asos
 Wouldn't you feel happy wearing prints for a change? Or is it just me?