Sunday, September 21, 2014

Anthropologie: more reviews

Anthropologie is having a huge sale right now so I went to the Calgary location over the weekend and tried on a few things.

First up was this dress. I can't seem to find the link on the Anthropologie website, but the brand is Yoana Baraschi.  There were at least 10 of these in the sale room. The colour is very beautiful and vibrant, but I found it to be quite loose around the waist and hips and I ended up being sized out of this one. The dress is lined and seemed well-made. 

I'd never tried on anything by Yoana Baraschi before, but I also found the Sweetwater dress in the sale room. This dress was featured in the catalog over the summer, and the pattern is very pretty and unique. The neckline also has a lovely beaded detail. I found it to also run large around the waist, and I tried on a 0P as well to see if that would help. I found the 0P fit a bit better in the waist but was also quite a bit shorter. I ended up buying this dress and will wear it with a belt. Not sure though if I'll regret buying something that doesn't fit me perfectly.

Sweetwater dress
I also tried on this jumpsuit. I do not currently own any jumpsuits/rompers. This was a size S, which is a bit bigger than I would normally wear. The fabric is crinkly cotton and there is a drawstring waist as well as a button in the back at the neck. I don't know if I'm brave enough to wear a jumpsuit. I think it requires a certain panache, and this version didn't convince me to take the plunge.

Tenaya Jumpsuit
This is the one item I tried on that I actually really wanted to take home. I love the colour and have recently decided that I don't have enough pink in my wardrobe. Plus, the silhouette is a little bit different from the multitudes of fit-and-flare dresses in my closet right now. They only had a size 2 though, and for this picture I am exhaling really hard so that the dress doesn't fall off. It fits true to size, and the fabric is thick and has some weight to it; I think it would work for autumn with tights and a cardigan. I went online but apparently this item won't ship to Canada. Boo.
Fresno Ikat Dress
I also got sucked into trying a regular price item. The Lasercut Basalt Sheath is featured in the September catalog, and it looks so pretty and romantic. It's made of a stretchy, thick fabric with a nude lining underneath. There is a zipper in the back and some ruching around the hips and waist. It fit true to size, and I found it very flattering. The black waistband is a beautiful touch, and the sleeves fit well. I don't think this dress could be worn to work but it would be lovely for a night out. I think I would have paid full price for this one except that I could not move the zipper up or down even an inch without the lining getting caught. It was extremely frustrating (and even a bit alarming, as for a few seconds I thought I might be permanently stuck in the dress). I predict that there will probably be a sale rack full of these beauties, all with stuck zippers or torn linings. I might buy it on sale, but I can't justify buying a completely non-functional dress for full price.

Lasercut Basalt Sheath

I was also tempted to try on the Libby dress, but the fabric feels so thin and cheap that I didn't even bother. It reminded me of a 1970s house dress that my mom used to wear.

Did you get anything great from the sale?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mt Edith Cavell: an outfit

Banff National Park, just five minutes from my doorstep, is world-famous and gets millions of visitors each year. Fewer tourists make it just a little bit farther north to Jasper National Park. 

Mount Edith Cavell is one of the most prominent peaks in the Jasper area. It's 3,300 meters high, and I recently learned that it was named after a British nurse who was executed by the Nazis for helping Allied soldiers escape.

I convinced my husband to take these photos when we hiked partway up the approach trail the day before our second attempt on the mountain. Before you judge me for hiking in a skirt and totally inappropriate footwear, let me clarify that we left straight from work and I didn't have time to change. And also, I put a down jacket over my clothes and wore long johns underneath the skirt. 

Outfit details:
Shirt: Banana Republic, very old
Skirt: Anthropologie, Songbird skirt (on sale and still available in a few sizes)
Shoes: Nine West

Thursday, September 4, 2014

What I did with my summer vacation: Part 2

One of the most common things I get asked as a climber is: "Would you ever want to climb Everest?"

My answer has always been "no". I feel like there's too much objective hazard on Everest, not to mention it's ridiculously expensive.  

I've always put the rest of the Seven Summits into the same category as Everest. Not really interested. But I started to reconsider this when I saw Kilimanjaro International Airport as a potential stopover on my air ticket itinerary. After a bit of googling and a few emails, my husband and I signed up with Ultimate Kilimanjaro to climb Kilimanjaro via the Lemosho route. 

And also, what 80s child wouldn't be intrigued by Kilimanjaro after growing up listening to Toto on the radio?

We spent 8 days on the mountain. Life became endearingly simple. Wake up, get dressed and packed, eat breakfast, walk very slowly for a few hours, eat again, walk some more, eat, then sleep. No internet, no TV, no phones.  

During the climb, we passed through 4 very different vegetation zones. We started off in the rainforest, with towering trees, lush ferns and Colobus monkeys.

Colobus monkey!
By the second day, we were into the heather and moorland zone.

Scrubby grassland on day 2

Crazy. Are they bushes or trees?
Most of the way, we had beautiful views of Mt Meru, the second highest mountain in Tanzania.

Mt Meru
Next, we moved into the alpine desert.

Rocks, rocks, as far as the eye can see...
It was very motivating to be able to see the summit. This was one of my favourite camps:

Kilimanjaro by moonlight
Finally, early in the wee hours of the morning on day 7, we woke up at midnight and made our way up to the summit. We were lucky enough to have an almost full moon, so I mostly walked by moonlight. We didn't make it the summit for sunrise, but I will never forget watching the sun come up over the hills while K.D. Lang's Hallelujah played on my iPod. 

6 AM on summit day
Shortly after sunrise, we made it to Stella Point, and from there, it was a 40 minute stroll to the summit. Kind of. Although I was walking very slowly along a very slightly inclined ramp, it felt like I was jogging and I could feel my heart beating quickly. I saw quite a few people who were not doing so great, including one lady who was being full-on dragged to the summit by two guides and a man who collapsed and couldn't get up. We also passed several people who were vomiting.

5,895 meters above sea level with one of our guides, Mtaba. It was cold! I'm wearing 3 jackets!
After taking a few photos at the summit, we ran back down to base camp. Literally ran. It was amazing how much better and stronger I felt the more we descended. We had a quick nap in our tent, ate lunch and then descended another 5,000 feet to our last camp on the mountain.

On our final day, we descended another 5,000 feet and then drove back to Moshi. Yes, you read that right: it took 6.5 days to climb the mountain and only 1.5 days to descend.

Looking back on the experience, I'm so glad we decided to do it. Our guides and porters took great care of us and we couldn't have made it without them. Although high altitude climbing is never going to be my thing, I'm happy we tried something different!

Monday, August 25, 2014

What I did with my summer vacation: Part 1

This should really be part 2 if we're going to be chronological, but due to technical difficulties, most of the photos from the first part of my trip are on my husband's computer. And it's been way too long since I've posted, so here we go. Non-chronologically.

I went to Tanzania. I am a bit sad to admit that the main motivating factor for this trip was actually work, rather than my own sense of adventure. But it has been on my list of places to visit for some time and I'm glad that I finally got to check it off. My husband met me after I was finished working and we went on safari for 2 days.

2 days doesn't sound like a lot, but we were able to visit two different areas.

First, we went to Lake Manyara, where you can sometimes see tree climbing lions (we didn't see any, unfortunately). We had a private guide who drove us around in a Land Rover. The roof hinged up so that we could stand and look out at the animals.

View of the lake, which is actually part saltwater and part freshwater
We did see lots of other animals. Like elephants.

And giraffes! Giraffes are one of my favourite animals. I just love how improbable they seem.

One of the amazing things about going on safari is that the animals are generally not that hard to find. The wild animals where I live are difficult to spot. If I have visitors, I can usually find them an elk, a deer or a group of bighorn sheep to gawk at. But it would be difficult for me to find a moose, a bear, a porcupine, or a coyote. And there are animals that I've never seen in the wild, like wolverines or cougars.

But when you go on safari, something like this watering hole is actually pretty common. Yeah, that's just a zebra and some wildebeest and cranes.

And that's a monkey with blue balls. Aptly called a blue-balled monkey.

We spent the second day at Ngorongoro Crater, another lake formed by the collapse of a giant volcano.

 There are flamingos, which I totally did not expect to see in Africa.

We saw gazelles.

Hyenas! I loved the hyenas. They look so cute and cuddly, like round little dogs. I was surprised to learn that there used to be hyenas in Europe.

And, of course, where there are hyenas, there are lions. They eat huge meals every few days, and spend a lot of time lying around digesting their food.  There are 4 lions in this picture. When they put their heads down, they blend into the grass remarkably well.

One of my friends told me that 2 days on safari is plenty, and I think that's probably accurate. In order to avoid total photo overload in this post, I didn't include photos of all the birds we saw... or the hippos, bushbucks, impalas, waterbucks, warthogs and other creatures. We would have loved to have seen a leopard or cheetah, but I guess they're more commonly seen in the Serengeti. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I've seen this colour referred to as mint, but I always think of it as seafoam green. And then I end up thinking about the 1970s...

My hair is already starting to grow out. I'm really appreciating the shorter length in the summer! It takes me under 10 minutes to get ready in the morning. My hair tends to be poofier and less angular than when my stylist did it a few weeks ago, but I'm still pretty happy with the style.

This is entirely different from what happened when I last made a major change to my hair back in high school. I brought in a photo of a boyish pixie cut and got a nervous feeling in my stomach when the stylist glanced at it briefly and said: "Don't worry! I know exactly what you want!"

30 minutes later, my hair was maybe 3 inches long and kind of mullet like. You know, the classic high-low hairdo. It was so short in areas that there was nothing to be done to fix it. I went home and cried myself to sleep. When I woke up the next morning, I looked at myself in the mirror and started crying again.

While I'm not a fan of high-low hair, I like high-low hems!

Shirt: Anthropologie, Tiny (similar)
Skirt: Plen+y, old (similar in blue)
Sandals: Nine West, similar
Necklace: Peacock Fairy

A very nerdy action shot!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Navy stripes

I think Anthro rolled out its first version of the Column Dress last year. Since then, we've seen multiple variations.  Like this one...

I can understand why this dress is so popular. The diagonal stripes are flattering, and the shape is feminine and pretty. And it's comfortable! The hem on each individual piece is unfinished, but it's held up surprisingly well. If it pops back, the price showing is $9.95, which would be pretty amazing!

Dress: Anthropologie, French Stripe Column Dress (similar,  Piped Stripes Column Dress)
Shoes: Brown's, old (similar)

Monday, August 4, 2014

And now for something entirely different

Different background! And... shorts! Quite the departure from my usual outfit posts featuring skirts and dresses.

To be fair, these shorts are kind of skirt-like. They're looser fitting, and the lace overlay is pretty and feminine. At least, I think so. My husband is not a fan of these shorts.

Shirt: Plen+y, very old
Shorts: Club Monaco, Carrie shorts (also available in black)
Shoes: Nine West (similar)
Necklace: Peacock Fairy
What do you prefer when it's hot out? Shorts? Skirts?