If the pink ox on this 17th Avenue awning doesn’t mooove you to mosey into Ox and Angela, this should:“The spanish table” is a prix-fix menu of muy delicioso munchies. Instead of angsting over your choice, go with the chef’s selection of the tastiest tapas. It will add at least fifteen minutes to your sparkling witty conversation window. And if it happens to be a slightly dull date, the new plates of food that keep arriving should get you through. Meant to be shared, the dishes will give you a base line of common ground.Owned by the restaurateurs behind one of my other faves in Calgary, Una Pizza + Wine, I predict Ox and Angela will be my new go-to: I’m yoked! Tempting tempranillo and lovely service make it una noche maravillosa.
A delivery like this definitely brightens up the day: AERINS’s new Beach Cream has me dreaming of building seaside sandcastles while effortlessly conditioning my hair. I’ll be test-driving this and AERIN’s other Shell Color summer goodies in a future post, my current sans sand situation not withstanding.
Could a nose by any other name smell as sweet? My nose still smells sweet scents, so I’m thankful for that.But I’m still dealing with the exciting daily changes of my maturing skin graft, after my brilliant surgeon disposed of the unwanted and univited basal cell carcinoma lurking in my nose. My camera doesn’t pick up all the nitty gritty, but there is major redness, some new scar tissue that scares me (but supposedly if I keep massaging the area it will not be too bad) and a few dents, lumps and bumps. One day I’ll post the Entire Ordeal, but I haven’t quite gotten to it yet. Meanwhile, The Great Coverup begins: my official experiment with primers, concealers, foundations and powder.
I started with L’Oreal’s True Match Super-blendable Crayon Concealer, and I have to say, I don’t think it’s fair to judge a coverup based on my nose situation. I probably should be turning to some medical-grade scar hider. But, let’s be real here, I prefer to experiment with fashion brands. They’re so much more fun. And I will judge, because, don’t we all?
The crayon concealer was a little too dry for my skin. Since I have so many weird little holes to fill in right now, I need something that is more liquid. However, it would be a handy concealer to tote in your purse, if you have skin that is more oily. And I only tried it on the skin from behind my ear that is now on my nose. I’ll give it a chance next time I have a pimple. Cuz guess what, kiddies? They never stop.True Match foundation glides on easy and was a great match for my skin. L’Oreal has a huge line so that everyone can find their color. I used N2, Classic Ivory, to tone down the natural pinkness around my nose area, so that a blob of coverup wouldn’t be more obtrusive. If you check back to my initial experimentation in Banff, you’ll see I wasn’t doing so well with that. So, the foundation is key and blend is the most important action. On the whole, though, I am blessed with nice skin, even if it is kind of pink, so for daily wear, I don’t use it on my entire face. However, if it ever stops snowing in Calgary, I may go for little more, considering the SPF 17 these bottles are packing. And since this foundation comes complete with vitamins B&E, using more would be more healthy wouldn’t it?In the name of distraction, I also tried these fab new blushes from L’Oreal: Visible Lift Color Blush, with zero talc and zero wax. I went with the one on the left tonight. The blushes have a slight gold shimmer in them, and the powder almost feels a little liquidy. Yet they go on evenly and have great staying power. Apparently it’s because of the Tourmaline. Touted as one of nature’s most naturally energizing minerals, it’s suposed to add radiance and luminosity to aging skin. Which I totally do not need because I will never age. Just like Andie MacDowell, who they are using for their blush campaign. Love her. And, oh, there’s this river in Egypt…Here’s the finished look. I probably should have blended the foundation a little further up my nose between my eyes – fyi that little red mark has nothing to do with the big C. It’s probably just cuz I’m thinking too hard. Or not enough.
On the rest of my face: L’Oreal Rose Gold Lift blush, True Match foundation, True Match crayon concealer, Lancome Hypnose Drama mascara, Sephora 471C lipstick (doesn’t seem to have a name but it’s their house brand) and Sonia Kashuk nude spice gloss on the lips. I felt so good I actually Went Out Into Public. Deets on the delicious eats I had here.
TARGET UPDATE: The Earth Needs More Big Boxes
Besides my Pavlovian response to anything Gucci and my inner compass dialed to LV, I also have an obsession with Target. My addiction to the chic big box store was cemented with regular stops during my Cleveland, Ohio days. I wonder if it will fuel the same fire once it’s in Canada?
Maybe that fire will be more like lava star power spewing from a style volcano. Target Toronto had Blake Lively and Sarah Jessica Parker out for a red carpet opening last month. But they must be saving the best for the west. Right?
Target is almost upon us, here in the wild rose province. I still can’t wrangle exact dates out of them, but they’re timing their Alberta ribbon cuttings with Earth Month. Last time I checked, it was just Earth Day on April 22, but if Target wants to extend our celebration of the planet, I am all for it. Look for the bull’s-eye coming in May to malls near you:
Calgary: Chinook Centre, Forest Lawn Shopping Centre, Market Mall, Shoppes at Shawnessy
Edmonton: Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre, Mill Woods Town Centre, West Edmonton Mall
Grande Prairie: Prairie Mall
Red Deer: Bower Place
Sherwood Park: Sherwood Park Mall
The scenery here in the Canadian Rockies is so beautiful – but apres ski I really, really just want to see a beer. Or two. Today I delayed the hops gratification by taking the apres off the mountain, into downtown Banff. Conveniently located on the main drag, Banff Avenue, this brewpub makes their beer on site, with local glacial water and all the minerals that come with it. I’m sure there are vitamins in there too.Brew with a view. Banff Ave Blonde Ale brings me back to my roots. If only touching them up was as easy as drinking this mild kosch style ale, the first beer ever to be handcrafted in Banff. Mmmm. Hasta luego, Banff! I’ll be back.
Of the three ski resorts in Banff, Sunshine is my favorite. Although since I’ve only been to Lake Louise twice and I’ve never skied Norquay, I have to admit I’m not really qualified to make this statement. But isn’t that the beauty of having a blog? The gondola takes you from the parking lot to the base of three hills. But at the end of the day, there’s more than enough snow to ride Banff Ave trail back to your car. In fact, today’s a huge powder day.Even though the clouds are obscuring the mega magnificent view usually to be had up here, Cookie’s got me covered. In Alberta, the sun always comes out at some point.Mix it up at the top of Mount Standish Express high speed quad. Do a few turns in British Columbia.Here comes the sun – I see some semblance of a shadow. And a white gourd — no, wait, that’s my Helli Hansen ski jacket. I am not down with this non-svelte silhouette. I gotta get a new jacket. But I’ve been saying that for years. Just avert your eyes and look at the B-Pro instead. Mmm… Gnu… Or that view of the Rockies! Meanwhile, you might notice there’s not much of a downward grade on this particular stretch of snow. At Sunshine, it’s good to bring a skier along so you can catch a ride by hanging onto one of their poles when you hit a flat spot. There’s a few of them here.Here’s another view to look out for at Mad Trapper’s Saloon. Just don’t let it startle you as you tilt your head up to take a swig of that midday beer. Built in 1928 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, you have to stop by this log cabin for lunch. Trappers makes a mean burger and it’s old-school ski vibe all the way. On the final day of the season (May 20 this year), the balcony is the best place to watch the Slush Cup. I didn’t fall! I was taking a break… … to take this photo. I can’t get enough of these Skittle-colored gondies. Luckily there’s still a month and a half left in the season. Next up: apres ski.
The mountains bring out the carnivore in me. It starts with the clothes. Suede boots, made in Italy. I paid a lot of money for them at an intriguing little boutique in San Francisco, but I can’t even brag about them because they have no designer name… anywhere. Who does that? However, I remember the shop’s name. Paolo Shoes in Hayes Valley. Check it out next time you’re there. Suede handbag, Gucci. Dress, Max Studio. Coat, Armani Exchange. Shearling hat, A Vintage Affair in Calgary. Because a hat like this makes sense when you’re surrounded by snow. You can’t hear my grumbling tummy, but I’m smiling through the hunger pangs. Luckily downtown Banff has a number of incredible restaurants less than a five minute drive from the Juniper Hotel.So many places in Banff are all about using natural recovered local materials, like the Maple Leaf Grille. I dig this wall.More than that, I dig their Game Platter. With a selection of bison, elk, beef and duck sausage and charcuterie, it’s a carnivore’s cult list. There might have been some bunny in there too. With local cheeses and tomatoes thrown in, I was pretty much in edible heaven while eating this. Which is good, because tomorrow I’ll need the calories. Come back manana for a little boarding, Banff style.
Perched above Highway 1, the Juniper Hotel has one of the most incredible views in Banff.Tucked into the side of the hill at the base of Mount Norquay, it’s not an automatic association when the ski vacation thought bubble starts forming above my head. But it should be.The vista from Room 210. The second floor here is the top floor. Mount Rundle is mesmerizing in late afternoon, its color palette changing from moment to moment. However, if you manage to tear yourself away, there are lessons to be learned and libations to be had downstairs. The hotel has an extensive art collection, inspired by Banff history. Here, in the Heritage Hallway, is a first nations saddle circa 1880, made from leather, fur and rawhide. Even if you’re not the museum type, you still have an incentive to visit, because the hallway leads to the bar.Called the Timberline Hotel when it was built in 1955, the sleek low-rise structure is different from the typical gingerbread house chalet you find in ski towns. Modernist design mingles with materials native to the Bow Valley, like Rundle stone and recycled fir timbers. If you’re going to indulge in a guilty pleasure like drinking, it’s nice to offset it with the eco-design of the Juniper Bistro Lounge.Normally I’m a wine drinker. Maybe it’s the name of the hotel, maybe it’s the Mad-Men-meets-apres-ski vibe, but there’s something about this lounge that inspires a martini. Perfectly chilled with my favorite and hard-to-find Victoria Gin, it hit the spot. Then so did another.During the second martini I stopped caring about my hat-head and allowed the paparazzi a moment full access, even though momentarily I did not have access to a brush. Luckily they lost interest before I hit the hot tub. No photographic evidence. But one of the best jacuzzi views of all time. Umm… not of me. The mountains!
It may be April, but our local Alps are still piled with snow. No foolin! The Canadian Rockies are less than an hour’s drive from Calgary. Home to several ski areas, Banff Alberta starts inspiring awe from the Trans-Canada Highway. Established in 1885, Banff National Park is the birthplace of Canada’s national park system. The name Banff comes from Banffshire, Scotland, birthplace of one of the big money boys who backed the Canadian Pacific Railway. CP Rail constructed fabulous, castle-like hotels in each major city across Canada. And in the occasional park.Built in 1888, the Banff Springs Hotel brought tourists to Canada’s Wild West. One of this country’s original luxury hotels, it is still a grand dame of glam.The Rundle Lounge may have incredible views, but settle into a divan away from the window’s glare and enjoy the gothic vibe of the ceiling’s stone arches — and the Worcestershired vodka of a Caesar, the drink invented in Alberta. As a courtesy translation for Americans, the menu also listed it as a Bloody Mary , but FYI it’s not quite the same. Up north we use a blend of clam and tomato juice instead of pure tomato juice. Motts actually sells it in stores: Motts Clamato. Sounds super gross but, just like escargot, it’s actually very yummy.Surrounded by nature on all sides, the hotel is a great starting point for fresh air exploration, in your most glamorous hiking outfit. Alongside the glacier-fed Bow River, it was almost too warm for my Italian fox fur hat, but it still seemed totally appropriate.By the way, this is the product I’m using this week to cover up the ever-evolving skin graft on my nose. The Lancome is very nice, but not made for super scar duty. However, it could be my application. I get better at blending with more practice (check the pics tomorrow) and the SPF is a plus for protecting my new epidermis patch.In the meantime, up river are the Bow Falls. Probably the most underwhelming view in Banff, but they were made famous by Marilyn Monroe in the River of No Return, so you gotta check ‘em out. When Ms. Monroe stayed at the Banff Springs (now owned by Fairmont) in 1953, it was the height of luxury. When I stayed there a few years ago, the room I was in seemed like it hadn’t been updated since Marilyn’s trip. Maybe they’ve made some changes. I don’t know, because I decided this time I would stay somewhere completely different. Stay tuned … Blue Besos is in Banff all week!
Get that John Mayer song out of your head, I’m about to talk about art.Back in October, I was driving through downtown Calgary and I saw this. It’s not that unusual to see construction crews working 24/7 here, but blowtorching a giant head is a tad uncommon, so I pulled over. This sculpture reminded me of one I’d seen at Sunset Beach in Vancouver. And another holding court on a corner of Marine Drive in West Van. So I looked it up. Yes, Calgary is the latest city to welcome one of Jaume Plensa’s giant heads to our public space. The Barcelona sculptor is obsessed with heads. Our version is a 12 meter tall bent-wire portrait of a young girl, placed in the curve at the foot of Encana’s new Bow Tower. Besides engaging a wide audience, the panel who chose Jaume wanted a sculptor whose work could withstand our wicked winds and wild weather changes.A few days ago, driving by the Bow again, I realized it’s finished. I love it! My red-eye fix-resistant eyes glow with the inspiration Jaume was going for when he said, “My vision for Wonderland is to inspire everyone who experiences the sculpture: I believe the architecture of our bodies is the palace for our dreams.”
He did another sculpture for the Bow, a bronze called Alberta’s Dream, which will be unveiled later this year. In the meantime, did you notice? Almost impossible to tell with the graininess of this shot and the rays of light coming from my crazy flash eyes, but … no bandaid! I’m wearing Lancome concealer and foundation. Next time I’ll brave a close-up. Boots, Michael Kors.