Saturday, September 27, 2014

And... still more reviews

Went back to the store this week and was happy to see that there's an additional 25% markdown on all sale items. The sales associate very kindly gave me a price adjustment on the Sweetwater Dress, which I wore last weekend with a belt (and it worked, so for $75, I am pretty pleased).

I tried on the Petaluma skirt first. This skirt came out quite a few weeks ago and there were only two left on the rack. Luckily, they had my size, although I found that this skirt fit looser around the waist than I would have liked. I was surprised by how heavy the skirt is. This is definitely a piece that would transition well into winter, maybe with tights and little booties. The edges of the rosettes are unfinished but they seem to have held up well given how many people probably tried this on the store. It's not uncomfortable to sit down in, something I wanted to trial because I've been burned buying sequined, beaded or otherwise embellished bottoms in the past and not being able to sit in them! I ended up buying this at full price.
Petaluma Skirt
I also tried the Tanith Dress. It is very stretchy, and I found I had to do some work to adjust the neckline so that it wasn't gaping and showing my bra. I also didn't like how the seams at the waist are lumpy. Pass.
Tanith Dress
I had to do some searching to find the name of this Maeve tunic. It's apparently from Spring 2014. It's made of rayon but feels nice to the touch and hangs nicely. It has a drawstring at the waist but I think it looks better loose. It fits true to size and was priced at $49.95 so with the extra 25% off, I couldn't pass it up.
Topoxte Dropwaist Tunic
This is a full price item that shows up in the most recent catalog. The white fabric is gauzy and see- through so you'd have to wear another top underneath. The embroidery is lovely. The sleeves and bodice fit true to size and the fit is very flattering. I did not like how the pleats at the waist are kind of stiff and sit away from the body. Passed on this one as well.

Ibis Peasant Blouse
This was another sale item. I couldn't find the name anywhere. The length is kind of awkward, in between a really short dress or a really long top. It's also kind of boxy, especially around the waist. Normally I'm not a fan of puffed sleeves, but these are not too extreme. I almost ended up buying this since it is quite different from anything else I own, but I couldn't figure out what I would pair it with.

And finally, I figured I would give the Libby dress a second chance and actually try it on. I think my original verdict still stands. I don't like the pattern, and the fabric is very thin. But I will say that it looked nicer on than it did on the hanger. Despite being very clingy, the busy pattern also seems to do a good job of hiding little lumps and bumps. I like the knee length too. I should also mention that there is a tight band around the bottom of each sleeve, and it was cutting into my arm just above the elbow. Apart from that, it fits true to size.

Libby Dress

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!