January 18th, 2013
Montreal is legendary for its after-dark verve, but what about toting a toddler in the cold light of day? After a family weekend in her old hometown, Toronto Contributor Marianne Wisenthal officially declares this metropole a paradise playground for under-agers. Herewith, her 411 on the 514.
Anyone travelling with kids knows the hotel can make (or break) a trip. The gloriously restored Ritz-Carlton might seem indulgent but think of all the cash you’re saving on cover charges! Tubs are big enough to swim, cribs come decked out in pretty linens and the staff treats tots (and grown-ups) like long lost relatives of Eloise. Ritz-Carlton Montreal, 1228 Sherbrooke Street West, 1-800-363-0366, rooms from $425, www.ritzmontreal.com
A few years ago I might have said the best view in town was from Club 737 over a vodka soda. Now I’m happy gazing at the Ritz-Carlton’s secluded winter garden from a prime spot in the greenhouse. Alas, the resident ducks are in hibernation ‘til spring but Maison Boulud’s ricotta blintz and freshly baked viennoiseries almost make up for it. The other great view? A glowing Maggie Gyllenhaal with baby Gloria tucking into eggs at the next table.
After a big snowfall, little locals take to the hills. No toboggan? No problem. One block from the base of Mont-Royal, Fitz & Follwell rents wooden sleds by the day. Diehards can sign up for a four-hour Winter Mountain Tour of skating, snowshoeing and tubing (from $79 including rentals and lunch at Smith House). Don’t forget your toque and watch out for les enfant terribles barreling down la piste! Fitz & Follwell Co., 115 Avenue du Mont-Royal West, 514-840-0739
Take a stroll along Fairmont Avenue in the city’s hip Mile End ‘hood. After the de rigueur Fairmount Bagel with cream cheese and lox, stop in for divinely handmade molle maison at Kem CoBa - the swirled Lait d’amande and Griotte is truly bananas. Kem CoBa Glaces, 60 Fairmont W., Montreal, www.kemcoba.com
Once the novelty of a hot bagel has worn off, Montreal winters are mean. The Ritz-Carlton’s new salt-water pool is the perfect antidote to cold tootsies and end-of-day tantrums. It may not have a slide but it’s warm (heated with reclaimed energy from the hotel’s kitchen) and the city skyline view is marvelous. Montréal, je t’aime.
— Marianne Wisenthal
January 17th, 2013
The nominations are out and it’s T- 38 days to prep for Oscar night.
For celebs, this means dress deliberation, Botox and a grapefruit diet. For mere mortals, it means cuddling up to a whole lot of movie nights.
At the very top of our must-see list are the two Quebec films that have earned nominations: Montreal director Kim Nguyen’s Rebelle (nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, $5.99 rental at iTunes) and Yan England’s Henry (nominated for Best Short Film).
Fingers crossed and we’ll be welcoming Oscar to la belle province once again. —Christine Laroche
January 16th, 2013
From the street style bloggers to iconic fashion archives, our editors and bloggers are always first on the scene (with camera in hand). Here's our top 10 blogs of 2012. And remembering, sharing is caring: Support your favourite blogger with a Like on Facebook and hit the Tweet button on any blog post to share it with your followers.
1. Bloggers run the world: The Sartorialist was in town for an event at Secret Location, and sat down for an exclusive interview (click here to read his thoughts on interesting hair cuts).
2. Man Repeller knows how to draw a crowd: the smart and insanely stylish Leandra told her the secret to true man repeller style (think plaid). Read it here.
3. Ombre, reverse ombre and the magic of twist dry are all part of our chat with hair stylist extraordinaire Mark McLeod. Read it here.
4. Canada takes Manhattan! Well, Joe Fresh at least. The Canadian brand made us proud with its store opening on 5th Avenue (we were there rubbing elbows with supermodels and the NYC literati). Read it here.
5. Does the camera make my bag look fat? Canadian trailblazer Tommy Ton collaborated with Club Monaco on a bag fit for the busiest on-the-town women. Read it here.
6. We spent the day with American Idol alum Adam Lambert just as his album hit #1 in Canada. He's as sweet as he is famous - read more here.
7. We talked freckles and Celine Dion with chart-topping Canadian songstress Kay. Read it here.
8. Ain't no mountain high enough… for us to scale. We hit the top of Whistler mountain on a rugged and adrenaline-inducing climb. Read it here.
9. We love to support a local industry - especially when it's the wine industry. Check in with our boozy Okanagan weekend here.
10. We swooned over street style in Paris - and caught a glimbse of a very famous designer seated next to us at a cafe. See our candid photos here.
January 15th, 2013
Stores are filling up with new season styles but babes, it’s still cold outside.
Refresh that knitwear stash with an e-spree at Lu Vic & Beau, a Montreal-based manufacturer serving up sumptuous cashmere basics at affordable prices online: Think $85 for a short-sleeved t-shirt (pictured) and up to $135 for a mid-length cardi.
Having been paired with everything from silk skirts to loungy leggings, our Lo-Hi crewneck ($130) has proved to be as versatile and chic as it is comfy and warm.
While we wait for spring, bundling up is a beautiful thing. —Christine Laroche
January 14th, 2013
‘Tis the season for dull skin. Or rather, ‘twas.
If we can speak in the past tense about our tired complexion it’s that we’ve found our perfect pick-me-up… and she’s a beaut!
Hormeflash Gold Shining Mask by Swiss brand Hormeta ($108) is packed peptides, Vitamin B5, minerals and, most important, gold powder. Apply the decadent, refreshing formula, wait 10-15 minutes, look like Heidi Klum as a golden alien and rinse to reveal smoother, brighter, softer skin.
Auf Wiedersehen, Heidi: We’re the fairest one of them all. —Christine Laroche
Spa Tai at Le Nouvel Hôtel, 1740 Réné-Lévesque W., Montreal, 514-938-4011, www.hormeta.ca
January 11th, 2013
Instead of cursing the white stuff, we’re saluting it.
Mount Royal is a haven for wintertime activities like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and even snowboarding but there’s a new one to add to the list: Yoga.
Every Sunday until January 29, join Pop Yoga founder Marie-Ève Bertrand for a hike up the mountain followed by a 60-minute outdoor practice, a.k.a. snowga ($18). It just happens to be perfect way to build the unique combination of serenity and strength required for shoveling cars out of their igloos.
Let it snow! —Christine Laroche
January 11th, 2013
A clothing collection inspired by a classic book and not a video game? Ears up, bunnies.
babyGap is launching an adorable, limited-edition collection based on Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit. It's not too early to stock up on Easter outfits (after all, it is in March this year), and the breezy dresses adorned with rabbits, chunky knit hat with bunny ears and nostalgic onsie with an illustration of Peter (pictured) will make the backyard egg hunt look like a Town & Country photo shoot.
That's sweeter than a cream-filled egg. —Maria Tallarico
Pieces (0-24 months) from $19.95, in store Monday, January 14 at babyGap and online January 17 at gapcanada.ca
January 10th, 2013
We crave sun, sand and salutations. But we don't need crowds, saccharine drinks and poolside renditions of La Macarena. Set in the beautiful south east coast of the Dominican Republic, Casa de Campo is 7,000 acres of serene luxury with all the right bells and whistles.
Nestled among palms and bougainvillea, Casa’s swishiest private villas boast infinity pools, basketball courts and docks for one’s yacht. Jay-Z rented something oceanfront for his 40th birthday (Queen B needs her space). No less sumptuous, our Elite Balcony suite had a cathedral ceiling and walk-in closet. Best of all, each room comes with its own golf carrito for getting to and fro. Arriba! Rooms from US$300 per night, www.casadecampo.com.do
There are 13 gourmet eateries here and (hallelujah!) just one buffet. We spent most afternoons noshing on fresh seafood at the open air Beach Club by Le Cirque. Overlooking Minitas Beach, the lobster salad and poached conch cocktails are delish. Do sea breezes smell better over mojitos made from hand-picked berries? Why yes they do.
A short hop from the main resort, Altos de Chavón has a charming cache of boutiques with handspun carpets, embroidered linens, and artisanal pottery. At Jenny Polanco we fell for hand-painted clutch bags and pretty lace trim dresses. The village is also home to The School of Design (an outpost of Parsons). Ask to visit the library where a collection of vintage leather-bound Vogues will put a gleeful dent in your beach time.
We never could resist a gent on horseback and the Casa de Campo polo team is most swoon-worthy. Catch a cup tournament at the Equestrian Centre, take a guided trail ride or sign up for lessons in Western, English or polo (if you dare). Trot on. www.casadecampo.com.do
Riding the range is glorious until you discover muscles you never knew existed. For your sins, the spa’s Polo Stretching Massage is just the thing. We loved that treatment products are 100 per cent natural and made on site. Follow up with a turn in the meditation garden labyrinth and you might get back on the horse. Treatments from $40. www.casadecampo.com.do/spa
January 9th, 2013
Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Jordan, Kuwait, the top floor of Place Montreal Trust… which of these just doesn’t belong?
Trick question! They all have something in common: An NStyle Nail Lounge location.
What first drew us in is the pristine white space, a breath of fresh, modern air in the realm of mall nail bars. What will make us return is a product offering that is the perfect blend of old favourites (Dermalogica facials, $110), recent obsessions (CND Shellac, from $50) and new discoveries (the house line of polishes)… not to mention a loyalty program.
Place Montreal Trust has the exotic glamour stamp of approval – who knew? —Christine Laroche
1500 McGill College, Montreal, 514-849-5777, www.nstyleintl.com
January 8th, 2013
Received some left hand bling over the holidays? Congratulations – your man has impeccable timing.
It’s the most popular time of the year to get engaged but more importantly, a plush bridal boutique has just opened in Old Montreal. Translation? Save your Porter Points: Montreal has its very own White Toronto outpost.
White Montreal is stocked with swoon-worthy styles by Monique Lhuillier, Jenny Packham, Oscar de la Renta, Marchesa and more, edited by superstar stylist Andrea Anastasiou.
We predict many a White wedding in the years to come. – Christine Laroche
105 St-Paul St. W., 2nd floor, Montreal, 514-507-4296, www.whitemontreal.com
Photo: Courtesy of Jenny Packham