02/29/12

Packing for a Ski Trip

Set your watches, folks. I’m leaving for vacation in approximately 4,320 minutes.

That’s Saturday if you don’t want to do the math.

This year, the boy and I are skipping our beach getaway. We’re skiing in Whistler instead. I’m looking forward to cozy fireplaces, snowy-but-not-too-cold days and drinking beer in the middle of the afternoon just because I can. We booked a great room overlooking a lake (I’ll bring back pictures!) and I’m going to sleep in so late that I’ll never, ever make first tracks.

I like ski trips. There’s no stress about heels and dresses. It’s about plenty of outdoors time, comfy clothes and the all-important apres-ski.

Let’s wile away some of those 4,315 remaining minutes and throw a few things in a my suitcase, shall we?

1. Fuzzy moccasins

I can’t stand the thought of my bare feet on hotel floors. Plus, my furry slippers never freak out when I put my cold feet on them. The husband isn’t so kind.

2. Roots vintage ski sweater

I wanted this for Christmas but it was sold out by the time I told Santa about it. Major bummer. Then, I discovered it on sale last week at Roots. The sweater works well with a fireplace and bottle of Merlot, methinks.

3. My Hudson Signature Jeans

These will be for fancy nights out.

 

4. And, Roots sweats for every other night…

5.  Pretty bralettes from Hanky Panky.

I’m bringing several of these because I refuse to wear anything with the word “push-up” or “underwire” after a day of hurling myself down ski slopes. Gravity, be damned.

6. And, of course, a toque.

Dutch-born Niekia (I love her name and now would like a daughter) moved to Whistler to snowboard. She started knitting as a hobby and now sells her Niex Toques in town and online. The Zest (above) and I will share a few pints next week.

It’s been years since I’ve been to Whistler. Please send all your eating, drinking, shopping and skiing suggestions!

~Chris

PS – If you want more practical tips on packing for a ski trip, check out this article. It’s a good one.

 

02/28/12

My New Mackage Leather Jacket

I have a new leather jacket that I’m excited to introduce you to. It’s a black Mackage that I picked up last week, after hm’ing and ha’ing over it at Aritzia for a couple of weeks. Like any big purchase, I had to visit it in the store a few times to be sure it was true love.

I would say that buying the Mackage is a splurge but I consider it more of an investment. A good leather jacket is one of those fashion essentials that you just need. Plus, a friend of mine hooked me up with the one I’ve been wearing for years — at a ridiculously great price — so I was willing to shell over a few bills for one that I’m sure I’ll wear for years to come.

You know who supports this purchase? Christina, for she is a big, big Mackage fan. The following is an excerpt of our email conversation the day after I bought my jacket:

Me: Feeling a little rundown but very motivated to get all my work to-dos done. To make myself feel better, I bought a new leather jacket last night. I’m in love. It will be a blog post next week.

Chris: What kind of leather jacket? Do tell.

Me: It’s a Mackage (a Cdn brand, I believe) – black lamb skin, high zip-up collar, fitted. I adore it and pondered it for weeks.

Chris: I knew in my soul that it was Mackage! Because I want one. I showed Spencer last week. Which one? Which one?

This is the one, Chris:

I wore it for the first time last night and I can confirm that it is, indeed, true love. We’re going to be very happy together.

~Michelle

02/27/12

Antipasti

Michelle and I are watching the Oscars right now. I’m developing a mad, mad crush on Jean Dujardin. That French accent gets me every time.

We’ve amassed a pile of dirty plates tonight so it seems like a good time to fill you in one of my favourite party dinners, which we’ve been munching on all evening.

 

It’s just a simple antipasti of grilled veggies, fresh bread, olives, yummy cheeses and garlic grilled shrimp or prosciutto. Easy but elegant.

I do up four different grilled veggies and serve them on a plate along with olives and artichoke hearts. (Michelle is beside me, saying that she wants you to know that she gives these recipes two thumbs up!)

Grilled Zucchini With Mint

  • 1 zucchini
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar

Heat grill to low-medium. Slice zucchini into 1/2-inch rounds. Spritz grill with olive oil. Lay zucchini on grill and grill until they are soft and grill marks form on each round. Mix zucchini with olive oil, red wine vinegar, mint and crushed red pepper. Salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Tomatoes

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place tomatoes on small rimmed baking sheet and cover with olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Roast until skins are blistered, about 25-30 minutes. Pour vinegar over tomatoes and roast for an additional five minutes.

Roasted Peppers

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • capers (optional)
  • pinch of fresh oregano (optional)

Heat grill to medium. Slice peppers into 1-inch strips. Spritz grill with olive oil. Lay peppers on grill and grill until they are soft and grill marks form on each strip. Remove from grill. Whisk oil and vinegar together and mix in bowl with peppers. Add capers or oregano and/or salt and pepper. Let sit for 15 minutes for flavours to mix.

Grilled Asparagus With Balsamic Glaze

  • 8-10 asparagus spears
  • 1/4 cup balsamic glaze (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Heat grill to medium. Trim asparagus stalks and break off the last inch from the bottom end of each spear. Spritz grill with olive oil. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on grill and grill until marks form on each spear. Remove from grill. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

~Chris

 

 

 

02/24/12

Things We Like Fridays

This may have been a short week, but we’re still happy to greet Friday. Yesterday’s brief blizzard made us yearn for ski tracks and snowshoes. Perhaps we’ll make one of those activities happen this weekend. Here’s what’s most definitely on our schedule this weekend: watching the Oscars in our sweatpants and comfy tees (see below).

And on that note, let’s get to our first item on this Things We Like Friday: comfy — and still sexy — underwear.

  • We were recently introduced to Affinitas Intimates underwear. The salesgirl at SHE Apparel said the thongs are like Hanky Panky, only more affordable. You can pick up a package of three for $39.99. We’re loving the undies’  bright colours and are suckers for cute packaging, as per below.

  • Betty Mitts from Preloved, a cool Toronto-based boutique that makes clothing from “reclaimed vintage fabrics.” Michelle picked up a pair of these adorable mitts the other day at Leo. Comfy, warm and cute — everything we look for in a pair of mitts!
  • Whoa. Latest audio addiction: Some Nights album by New York band Fun. Michelle heard them on Q, bought the album earlier this week and can’t. stop. listening.
  • Michelle just finished This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper and was reminded how much she enjoys Tropper’s writing. The first book of his that she checked out, How to Talk to a Widower, was excellent. She recommends his books any old time. (And thanks her friend, Mr. Bell, for getting her onto Tropper in the first place.)
  • Chris will never go another winter without Aveda’s daily damage remedy. This leave-in conditioner leaves her hair soft and healthy.
  • Calgary’s Shikiji restaurant has fantastic happy hour specials between 5 and 6 most evenings. 30% off rolls? Yes, please.
  • Have you checked out Roots lately? Chris picked up this super comfy Juliette Tee. She’s going to wear it to the Oscars on Sunday.
  • Also on the Oscars dress code, Nars lipstick in Manhunt. It’s the perfect red — bright without being glaring.

We hope you have a fantastic weekend. Enjoy the Oscars!

~The Toque Girls

02/23/12

Baby FunPod

I’m no expert on babies.

I play a mean game of hide-n-seek, am uninhibited in kitchen dance-offs and believe that whatever nephews want, they shall have. That about covers my knowledge on the baby front.

But I do know when something is worth writing about. Gang, meet FunPod.

If you’re a parent, this invention is quite awesome. If you’re not a parent and you’re thinking WTF, just give it time.

FunPod was created by UK-based parents Kim and Sean Johnson for their daughter eight years ago. Quite popular in the UK, it’s  relatively unknown in Canada. My sister discovered it through a friend in the US.

FunPod is a protected stand for your toddler so they can stand at the edge of the kitchen counter. He or she can safely play alongside of you while you work in the kitchen. For verification, see cute, somewhat fuzzy nephew above playing the ever-popular “Upside Down Plastic Cups” game.

The FunPod is the first thing all my sister’s mom-friends comment on when they come into her kitchen and my sister loves this contraption. My nephew likes to be involved with everything so for a kid like him, it’s great.

The settings adjust as the child grows so that there’s no danger of them falling out. Here’s the view from the top as my nephew plopped down for hide-n-seek:

Currently, you can order the FunPod in Canada through here.

~Chris