What fun to attend a wedding where all I had to do this time was dress up, show up and eat up. A few weekends ago, one of the beau’s cousins got hitched at the beautiful Waterton Lakes National Park. An eccentric and fun couple, him a masters student, her an art teacher, I knew it would be a lovely fete with some unique twists.
The invitation was by far one of the cutest I’ve received.
The clever bike theme was carried out in other elements of the wedding, including décor on the trees by the lakeside ceremony and custom wine bottles.
The blushing bride wore an amazing satin sheath with a deep-v in the front and back, finished with a sweeping train. I heard a guest say that she’d purchased the gown while living in Ireland this past year.
She pulled off a modern vintage look complete with a dramatic feather hairpiece, matte red lips and a pearl cuff.
Her cascading mixed flower bouquet was gorgeous and completed the look perfectly. She was stunning.
I also managed to capture some of the cutest guests in attendance.
Overall the wedding was lovely. And as much as I enjoyed being a guest and celebrating stress-free, this shindig sparked my interest to get back at it. Anyone need help planning their wedding?
At a young age, I was interested in all things pretty. I remember admiring older girls’ clothes, hair and makeup, wishing I could trade in my sweatshirts, permed bangs and Lipsmackers for something cooler. Over the years my wish came true and to this day I still proudly declare myself a girly girl.
As times have changed, so has beauty advice. I'm always looking for new tips or products in magazines, books and blogs, so I was excited to receive a fun new read as a bday treat a couple of weeks ago.
You all know Carmindy, right? The blonde bombshell from What Not to Wear with the flawless makeup? Not only can she make up a face, she can write a cute book too. Crazy Busy Beautiful: Beauty Secrets for Getting Gorgeous Fast, is a light read of loveliness with a fresh take on common diluted beauty tips and tricks.
On a recent road trip, I perused the chapters on skincare, eyes, lips and cheeks, as we made our way through the mountains en route to Waterton National Park. I sure didn’t learn how to fight off a bear, but I did learn that a spot of mud mask overnight on a forthcoming zit will cure things up in a pinch.
Other noteworthy tips from Carmindy:
- lather up with shower gel, then scrub a handful of regular white sugar over your skin in circular motions for a great exfoliant
- apply eye pencil liner first, then trace over the line with liquid liner for a precise look
- add a few drops of your favourite perfume to unscented lotion for a custom body cream
- sweep bronzer on your cheeks and eyelids for a fast two-in-one sunny glow
And although I’ve moved on to loving Laura Mercier, Korres, Smashbox and the likes, I couldn’t help but notice a Bonnebelle rack recently and feel a sense of nostalgia when I saw that Dr. Pepper lip balm is still going strong.
It’s incredible what you can discover only an hour outside of most cities. I guess that’s quite the statement if you live in the desert, or the rain forest, or Saskatchewan for that matter. But for Calgarians, there is a realm of incredible sites to see and things to do mere miles away from the hustle and bustle.
My thoughtful husband recently planned a romantic weekend getaway to Banff for my 25th birthday. We’ve been to Banff several times before and although we are far from a granola couple, every time we head to the mountains we comment that we need to get out of the city more often. This trip, we discovered a few new gems to add to our list of Banff and Canmore favs.
Stayed:The Fox Hotel & Suites
Rustic appeal with clean and comfy, well-appointed suites. It’s conveniently located minutes from the town’s main strip. Now who can dispute easy access to shopping and eating amongst the mountains?
Notable: wildlife motif wallpaper, Rocky Mountain Soap amenities and a giant cave-like spa tub (aka. oversized public bathtub with fake rocks and waterfalls).
Alive since the 60s, this infamous fondue restaurant attracts a lively crowd, boasts friendly service and puts a retro spin on interactive dinning.
Notable: four course fondue dinner option (the steak and lobster was divine), generous wine selection and knowledgeable, sociable staff.
Some might call this more of a walk than a hike. But if like me, you and nature don’t exactly get along, this little adventure will do. It’s a picturesque stroll through a wooded area with a great view of the Rocky Mountains and waterfalls.
Notable: plenty of scenic photo opps, a quick drive from the town and killer bugs (see swollen finger below).
Tucked away in an unsuspecting strip mall in Canmore, this quiet antique store is a vintage lovers dream come true. Unlike most vintage shops, Antique Junction is well organized, huge and visually appealing.
Notable: the darling shop owner who was pretty vintage herself, the 1920s Birks diamond ring that I’ll never own and the massive 1930s red milk tin that I now do own.
A spinoff of Calgary’s posh gourmet Italian eatery in Mission, Mountain Mercato is a smaller scale mini-market and coffee bar.
Notable: generous bouquet of dried French lavender purchased for cooking and crafting, handcrafted Illy iced lattes and a sunny front patio.
One of the most memorable bits of advice I received in college was from a teacher who was adement about the impact and importance of a handwritten thank you note. Don’t worry Dad, college taught me a few other things too.
To give this some context, I distinctly remember the poised prof advising that one of the best ways to build and maintain a relationship with clients or potential employers is to follow up after a meeting or interview with a short written note. Simple but meaningful advice.
Yesterday, I finished writing over 70 thank you notes for a bridal shower that was thrown for me in Regina before our wedding. That’s a lot of writing, folding, stuffing and licking. But really, over 70 people were thoughtful enough to attend the shower, give a gift or send their well wishes, the least I can do is mail a little written love back.
As the wise prof encouraged me, I hope to inspire you to make writing thank yous part of your routine. Here are a few of my favourite places where I find fun stationary:
Strawberries, coffee and cake. Now that’s a delicious mouthful. Farmhouses. Not exactly my thing. But I thought it was time to share some of my recent baking adventures. I’ve been enjoying the array of cookbooks and kitchen gadgets we’ve added to our collection since the wedding and have happily delved into my domestic duties.
One of the many thoughtful gifts we received was a cookbook and bottle of vino from my sister. She’d picked up the local goodies at a vineyard on a recent trip out East. “Niagara Cooks: From farm to table” by Lynn Ogryzlo, is a delectable collection of culinary delights using regional ingredients, complete with a wine recommendation and seasonal ingredient info for each recipe.
I began in the Breakfast Table section of the book and recently whipped up Lynn's Farmhouse Strawberry Coffee Cake. It was a hit at home and at my office. So take advantage of summer fruit season, grab some strawberries at the farmers market, tie on your apron and turn on your oven.
Farmhouse strawberry coffee cake
1 ½ cups fresh market strawberries, washed, hulled & quartered
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¾ cup milk
¼ teaspoon white vinegar
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (I opted for half whole wheat flour)
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter, chilled
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 egg, slightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350F (I know, it sounds deadly in August, but think of the strawberry goodness you’ll be enjoying soon).
In a small saucepan, cook strawberries over medium-low heat until berries release liquid and are soft, about five minutes. Combine water and cornstarch, mix well and add to strawberries.
Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly, about two minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Add white vinegar to milk and set aside to sour.
In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Remove ½ cup of the crumb mixture and set aside. To remainder, add baking soda and powder.
Add egg to soured milk and mix to combine. Add milk mixture to flour mixture. Stir just to moisten. Spread two thirds of the batter over the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan. With the back of the spoon, smooth batter out to edges of pan, making sure the batter touches the edges. Spoon strawberry filling evenly on top. Spoon remaining batter in small mounds on top of strawberry layers. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture on top.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden on top. Remove from over and allow to sit for ten minutes.
Now enjoy your superb strawberry coffee cake, minus the farmhouse.
Today’s exciting. Not just because I have tomorrow off work. Not just because my little sis comes to visit this weekend. And not just because I bought a cheap and fabulous dress during my lunch today. Today’s exciting because our wedding is at last featured on our amazing photographer’s website.
In short, Carey Shaw is incredible. We wanted someone to capture our wedding in a fresh, unique and distinctive way. Oh my, did she do that and more. Carey is professional and approachable, creative and accommodating, and snapped the day away better than we could have hoped.
You must visit her site and although this post is meant to showcase her work and not necessarily my wedding, make sure to check out the best wedding Regina’s ever seen under Portfolios>Love.
Here’s a sneak peek of her master shooting and styling skills…
It’s weird, but I’m super intrigued by sharks. Not enough to put on a wetsuit but enough to fill our PVR with documentaries this week. The Discovery Channel is running its annual Shark Week marathon and I’m lovin’ it. I’m not sure if it’s because of a lack of adventure in my life, my love of seafood or our nautical inspired living room. All I know is this week you’ll find me on the couch, eating popcorn and clutching our enormous navy and white striped throw pillows, scared, but not too scared, because I know they’ll never get me. Happy Shark Week everyone from the least likely of fans.
I wish to brighten your day with a little inspiration. Inspiration to try something new. Inspiration to find joy in cooking and crafting, entertaining and styling, writing and sharing. I’m Alexandra Joy and I have many joys to share.