Montreal - Editors' Diary
December 5th, 2013
We celebrated all things sparkly at the opening of DeBeers first Vancouver store.
Diamonds for breakfast - what can be better than that?
1088 Alberni Street Vancouver. http://www.debeers.com/
Photos by Johann Wall
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November 15th, 2013
Like the old story goes: small town girl is discovered in a mall in her hometown of Nebraska and grows up to be on of the most successful models... ever.
Well, maybe we don't all know that story, but in the case of Ashley Graham, it's all true.
For the first time ever, this gorgeous femme has teamed up with Canadian brand Addition Elle and created a 14-piece lingerie collection.
“I was looking to create pieces that I would want to see in my own closet. More of my style, vintage, luxurious. Whether it was the size of the bow or the type of crystal - every little detail was selected carefully and thoughtfully”
The collaboration has been in the works for over a year now (did you know there are 16 separate pieces that make up a bra?) and there will be two more capsule collections to look forward to!
We love how Addition Elle has created an inclusive environment across their 123 Canadian retail stores (that are more like one-stop-shop mini department stores). Emphasizing the importance of the customer experience and feeling comfortable (and sexy) in her lingerie.
So comfortable in fact, one woman was comfortable enough to walk through the store in just her bra and comfortable enough to be filmed by Ashley’s husband! (Don't be alarmed, he's a director of photography.)
Ashley, a long-time lingerie model, shared a few of her fit tips.
Tips for fits:
- You want to use the first claps and move it back as the bra wears
- If you’re spilling over go down a size in the band and up in the cut
- To test your bra fit, place two fingers at the back of your bra and pull. if it goes beyond 2 inches its too big
Follow Ashley on Twitter @theashleygraham and shop her lingerie collection at Addition Elle now.
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November 15th, 2013
The Isabel Marant for H&M collection is finally here and, when it comes to shopping this hot designer collaboration, the competition is extreme. Here are a few tips to avoid walking away empty handed:
#1 Grab First, Think Later
After lining up in the cold and earning my numbered wristband (#124, despite having arrived at the 7pm pre-shop event for 6:45pm), I felt seriously motivated to lay down my credit card. What's worse, I spent the 45 minute wait surrounded by women hoping to scoop the very same leather pants and oversized coats as me - according to overheard conversation, that is - so as I neared the front of the line, panic set in. Groups of 30 were permitted to shop the designated racks together and as I made my way, suddenly I found myself grabbing pants in multiple sizes, boxes of jewelry without even seeing the contents, and novelty items that I wasn't even in the market for.
When it comes to shopping, the competitive beast comes out, but everyone else is doing it, so snatch what you can and then find reason in a dark corner of the men's section once you've been dismissed from your 10 minute allotment amongst the Marant. There's also zero shame in buying and returning.
#2 Look Outside Your Designation
Speaking of the men's section, that happens to be where I scooped up a great sweater. And then I hit up the kids section and found a fiddler cap. What? I have a small head and like my knits oversized, so why not benefit from the two designated sections that were still rich with merchandise rather than fight the quick fingers and cut-eye in womenswear?
#3 Scope Out The Cash Register
My favourite item came to me as I was pulling out my wallet and a sales associate walked out from behind the register holding a rack's worth of discarded merch. Many shoppers intend to purchase with single price tags in mind, but once those items add up, the total requires a rethink. As a result, pieces pile up behind the cash desk, waiting to be run back on to the floor and it's fair game to get in there and see what's for grabs.—Laura Lanktree
November 7th, 2013
Down on the corner of Bay and Wellington, there's a man smashing desks with a sledge hammer. No need to sound the alarm, however: Toronto-based artist Justin Broadbent is deconstructing the office staple to promote Microsoft's new Office 365 platform.
In order to push the software's "work from anywhere" cloud features, the tech company commissioned Broadbent to bring his hands-on approach to their #ditchthedesk campaign. As a multi-disciplinary artist whose breadth of work runs from creating Metric's Juno Award winning album art to curating AGO's Massive party two years running, Broadbent is perhaps best known for his freestyle installation pieces.
Familiar elements like spray paint, cats, and the number 81 are peppered throughout the orange Office 365 platform, but the artist's main intention is to tear down used office desks and transform the wood and parts into sculptures. Not without a touch of irony, Broadbent is doing what he does best by poking fun at the idea of an artist taking over white collar run Bay Street. A spray painted "Bank -> see" points to the towering RBC building behind the installation, while "Oooh Gary you make some fine art" decorates the opposing wall.
Is it time for the suits to embrace an artist lifestyle and get up out of their desk chairs, then? Judging by the crowds gathered to see Broadbent bounce around with a paint brush, the idea certainly seems intriguing.
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October 30th, 2013
One of the best ways to start a Monday, hands down, is tasting the iconic Veuve Clicquot sparking wines.
Since 1977 the French champagne house has created beautiful blends. Chef de Caves, or Cellar Master, Dominique Demarville shared his wisdom, and many years experience, as he walked us through the different sparking wines.
The 2004 La Grande Dame has a distinct brioche taste, with hints of sweet and spicy. These flavours are more coming in the vintages and are developed over time. Champagne flutes are wonderful for quick sips and cheers, however this glass is new on the market and is perfect for spending some time with your wine.
Save those corks. Each cork is labeled with specific code, and we have the trick to decipher them: supplier / year / semester (jul aug batch).
Key takeaways for the smart buyer:
2012 was a great year for the Meunier (aka the wedding wine who's flavour balances out the bolder pinot noir and chardonnays)
Blends are put through a meticulous blind taste test by 8 discerning palates and are judged based on finesse and elegance, body structure, and ageing potential.
Ideal temperatures for serving: 8 degree's for the Yellow Label and 12 degrees for la Grand Dame.
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October 22nd, 2013
My name is Christine, I’m a Capricorn and I love lists. So it goes without saying that when I go shopping, I’m armed with an all-encompassing list that typically involves several stores.
The former remains true, but no more running all around town for me.
Last week, I took said list to Target and managed to cross everything off – food containers, holiday lights, deodorant, balsamic vinegar, you name it! – in a single trip. P.S. It was fun, too! Especially in the killer cosmetics aisle.
Of course, some of the best finds are those sneaky off-list items, of which there are plenty to be had at Target. My scores of the day included two fabulous mercury glass tea lights ($2.99 each) and a cheery candle ($12.99), which look like they came from a fancy-pants home décor store. (Our little secret, OK?)
Here are the 15 items I got for $100, including big-ticket items toothbrush heads and Christmas lights as well as staples like Method soap, food containers and chocolate chips.
Pretty great, right?
And like any good list-lover, I’ve compiled one to help you shop Target like a pro:
- Stores are open until 9 p.m. all week long. I went on Monday night and it was quiet. Take advantage.
- Save even more by bringing your own bags (worth a $0.05 rebate a piece) and using your REDcard debit or credit card (save 5% on your purchase).
- Every department is filled with gem so give yourself plenty of time. My trick to earn bonus time? Park the hubby in the electronics section.
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October 19th, 2013
Kids are more likely to eat food that they help prepare, so we are always on the hunt for balanced meals that they can help make. They love getting their hands dirty, but since they’re unable to prepare sophisticated meals - Pillsbury presents an opportunity to involve children in the making of simple and delicious creations.
Time is also of the essence, and little ones tend to have pretty short attention spans, so we turned to Pillsbury Crescents for a fun and easy way to prepare a balanced meal that the kids actually want to eat.
First we needed a team of chefs: Viktor eats anything you put in front of him and Matilda has slightly more refined tastes (read: she is extremely picky). Then we gathered the ingredients – which were simple and straightforward. Pillsbury crescents (we used the Grande ones but the classics or multigrain work, too), grilled chicken breast, bbq sauce, grated cheese, and an egg. (Find the recipe here.)
Viktor stirred the barbeque sauce into the shredded chicken breast.
We laid out the pastry (and if your kids decide to treat it like playdough, never fear, you can easily flatten it out again with a rolling pin).
Then we pilled the chicken mixture onto the dough, and topped it off with cheese.
Roll up the crescents (perfection doesn’t make them taste any better…) and paint them with beaten eggs.
Cook for 12-15 minutes and serve with carrot sticks, kale chips, and a handful of grapes.
The result? A fun dinner for two.
And the leftovers? None of the crescents, but a few of the vegetables, which the kids decided to share with their horses.
Easy, quick, fun, and balanced. The kids loved it, and so did the horses. Mealtime success.
October 11th, 2013
It was a hotly anticipated Gastown store opening, and one that did not disappoint.
Cavalier Jewellers, co-founded by Keith Seabrook and Dane Stevens, not only supports local independent designers but is also the only jewellery store in Canada that stipulates a portion of anything sold goes toward a local cause, such as Face of Today and the ALS Society of BC.
By the number of people that showed up at last Thursday's party — hosted by FASHION's western editor and Vitamin Daily alumnist Joy Pecknold — it's clear that Cavalier has already gained fans in and around the neighbourhood (either that, or they all wanted to hear Blondtron's DJ set).
Oh, and those engraved pieces by Broken Promises? Those will be ours very soon.
October 10th, 2013
This is a recipe from an Eighties issue of Homemakers magazine. My mom still has the original tear out – it’s in poor shape because this recipe gets used multiple times a year. If you can’t find any fresh oysters (or aren’t much good at shucking) then you can replace them with scallops. And we prefer to cook the stuffing in a separate dish so that you can make more. In our family, we do a small bird and a huge stuffing, because this stuff is so good, it ends up being the main focus of the meal.
Most grocery stores will order in fresh oysters for you, and you can get them in a plastic pot, which saves you the hassle of shucking. We triple this recipe and cook it in a casserole dish when it is a meal for 12-15 people – and that always guarantees enough leftover. Like most good foods, this also tastes very good the day after.
2 cups (500ml) oysters
¼ cup butter
½ cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped celery
6 cups white bread crumbs (use slightly stale bread, and I tend to tear pieces of bread into small pieces, rather than actually crush it into crumbs.)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon thyme
Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet over high heat, when foaming add chopped onion and celery. Turn the heat down to medium-high and sauté vegetables until golden and translucent. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Place oysters in a small bowl and strain the liquor through a sieve lined with a damp cheesecloth into the skillet. Add oysters and simmer gently until edges curl, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and cut into halves or quarters, depending on size. Add to vegetables, toss with bread crumbs, then add remaining ingredients with just enough oyster liquor to hold together.
At this stage, you can stuff it into a bird, or as we prefer, put it into a casserole dish and cook it for around one hour at 350. The top gets a little crispy but the stuffing should be really moist. I am getting hungry just thinking about this…
Yum and Happy Thanksgiving!
October 6th, 2013
October marks the national Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and no brand has been more crucial to the fight against the disease as Estée Lauder, in its relentless campaigning and fundraising over the last two decades. The exquisitely beautiful Elizabeth Hurley has played a vital part in the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign since signing as the company spokesperson back in 1995. Upon meeting her (hello, girl crush!) at the Hudson's Bay Company in Vancouver, it wasn’t a surprise why the actress has held one of the longest running beauty contracts in the industry. Intelligent and articulate, Elizabeth Hurley gave us an update on the company’s crusade against the agonizing disease, and even found time to give us a couple of valuable beauty tips.
You've been an Estée Lauder spokesperson for almost two decades -- a rare thing in this industry. When you signed in 1995, did you think it would become a role of a lifetime?
I couldn't have dreamt it. I think my initial contract was two years. I was thrilled beyond belief when it was picked up again, after two years. It's really been like having a second family. It's getting on towards half my life that I've been with this company, and they've just been amazing, on every level.
You've personally been affected by breast cancer; you lost your grandmother to the disease. Was that one of the reasons why you've been so passionately involved since the beginning?
When Evelyn [Lauder] told me about her campaign, during my first two or three weeks at the company, I suppose my ears did perk up a bit more because of my grandmother. It was so sad the way she hadn’t told anybody about her lump, for the very reasons Evelyn went on to explain why she was doing the campaign. Because she said, “women are dying all over the world and nobody is talking about it.” She was so inspired by the AIDS activists, who, at that time, were very active.
You also live and promote a healthy lifestyle, as part of the breast cancer prevention. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
I love living in the countryside, and I’ve always loved feeling healthy. Evelyn Lauder always said to me, “don’t put on weight. It is not good for you in any way. Not because you won’t look as good, but it could be dangerous for your health.” It’s great for us that doctors and research scientists are now speaking out and saying that they really do believe that we can make a difference by following a healthy lifestyle. They know that we really have to go out of our way to deliberate exercise. I know I don’t step up so much on that one. I’m very active, but I don’t really do exercise regime, and I should. Eating-wise, I’ve eaten pretty well in the last 30 years, so I feel okay in that aspect.
What are the goals of this year’s “Let’s Defeat Breast Cancer. We’re Stronger Together” campaign?
We know we’ve succeeded in some way with the awareness, and we’ve helped raise a huge amount of money. The Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign itself has raised $48 million US dollars, most of which they’ve donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, also started by Evelyn Lauder, which has raised nearly half a billion dollars for research. What we’re trying to do this year is encourage people to get together and make a difference themselves. Small scale, big scale: it doesn’t matter. It might be getting a couple of your friends together, and all of you making a pledge to do something about it. It’s all about our “Circle of Strength” and all of that can be seen on BCAcampaign.com, and as well as Facebook, which you’re all on, so no excuses!Elizabeth's picks: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair with Pink Ribbon Bracelet ($105) and Evelyn Lauder Dream Solid Perfume "Pleasures" Compact ($55)
You look amazing, a timeless beauty! In the two decades you’ve been with the company, what have been your hero skincare products?
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair: this is one of the best products in the world! I've used it twice a day for 19 years now. I don’t think there is a better product than that, actually. And it’s just so happens that if you buy it at this time, about 20% of the retail price will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
But Pleasures is my all time favourite scent, which I launched back in the day. And if you buy the [Evelyn Lauder Dream Solid Perfume Compact], every cent of the $55 goes directly to breast cancer research, so really you’re just donating and getting this. It really is a perfect present for any woman.