Things We Like Fridays

Hello, Friday. Hello, April (almost).

We both felt like this all week:

We’re both ready for some time off, replacing fluorescent lights with sunshine. Chris will be in New York for another few days and Michelle will be in the mountains.

On the list for this week:

  • Chris is a sucker for pale pink nail polishes. She and Scotch Naturals nail polish in Neat are about to become very good friends. Have you heard of Scotch? They make  water-based polishes that don’t use DBT, formaldehyde, acetone or heavy metals.
  • Yann Haute Patisserie in mission makes marvelous macaroons. A macaroon is a cookie sandwich. So, we’re expecting very good things when the bakery rolls out its new sandwiches and other savory treats. Should be in store by the time Chris gets home!
  • Speaking of sandwiches, Michelle recommends the burger at Model Milk. It’s easy to spot on their menu – simply called The Burger — and it’s delicious. She knows because she’s had it twice in the last week.
  • This Bath & Body Works shower gel. Heavenly but be warned: using it will make you yearn for a beach vacation.
  • Biking season is just around the corner (or so we hope). Bow Cycle & Sports has a killer sale on bikes and gear, starting tomorrow.
  • Michelle feels lucky to have recently interviewed and written about two inspiring individuals: Ron Razon, a Calgary runner who was impaled by a forklift — and nearly killed — in 2007, and Christiane Germain, the co-president of the Germain Group. You can find Ron’s story in Impact Magazine and Christiane‘s in Chatelaine. (Or you can just click on the links above.)

Have a great one!

~The Toque Girls


Butter Beauty Parlour Opens

Earlier this week, Calgary gained a fabulous new blowout/waxing/mani/pedi/makeup/lashes/hotheads hot spot, called Butter Beauty Parlour. That “hotheads” thing is a real service of theirs. I have no idea what it means and meant to follow up. Sorry about that. If someone checks it out, please let me know what it involves. It sounds glam…and intense.

The gorgeous new parlour is on 4th St., in the same building as Wurst, and is hedkandi‘s new venture. We Toque Girls were invited to the media opening last week. Chris wasn’t able to make it, so my friend Sam and I checked it out, said hello to a bunch of media peeps and were treated to blowouts. Afterwards, we and our hot heads ate at Famoso. Blowouts and ‘zza — basically my dream come true.

Time to show you how stunning the place is. Behold the pedicure station:

The manicure station:

And a blowout station. Can you spot me? I’m wearing a blue t-shirt.

We’re sold on Butter’s offerings and have already discussed starting a GNO (remember that? Girls’ Night Out) there. Next time, we’ll tack on some dancing to the end of the blowouts + ‘zza equation.



On The Reading List

The lady who sat beside me on the plane home from Orlando last week said to me after we landed, “Wow. You didn’t stop reading the entire flight. I’ve never seen anyone read like that before.”

That’s me. Sexy times all-round.

I’ve read a few doozies lately. Here are my faves:

1. Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson

It’s a thrilling novel about a woman who wakes every morning beside a man she does not know. Every morning, the man explains that he is Ben, he is her husband and she had a terrible accident two decades earlier destroyed her ability to form new memories. This book will rattle around inside my head for the rest of my life.

2. 11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King

One man goes back in time to prevent the Kennedy assassination. It’s an incredible story that details culture of America in the years 1958-1963. This is what I was reading non-stop from Orlando to Calgary. And when I got home, I read some more.

3. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Twin brothers Marion and Shiva Stone are born at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa, after a secret affair between a quiet Indian nun and a gruff British surgeon. The boys are raised by doctors at the hospital and grow up fascinated by medicine. The story has plenty of twists and turns and is beautifully written by Verghese, who is a physician as well as an author. There is, of course, a love affair that messes everything up, drives people apart and brings them together.

4. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

We already recommended this book in our Things We Like Fridays but it deserves a second mention. It’s the story of Henry Skrimshander, a young baseball talent and a freshman with Wisconsin’s Westish College Harpooners, and Mike Schwartz, the team’s dedicated catcher and leader. It’s a book that develops around one baseball throw but isn’t really about baseball.

Ooh, tricky.

(There’s actually a book about the story behind the publishing of this book!)


PS – We’ve had a few problems with drafts going out on our email subscription service this week. So sorry about that! We have the problem fixed.


How to Give a Good Handshake

My grandpa Don was a wonderful man. Growing up, my brother and I were lucky enough to spend a full week with him and my amazing grandma Ada at their cabin on Clear Lake, which is now our family’s cabin and our most treasured place on earth. I have so many memories of those weeks and of countless other visits, whether my grandparents were in Edmonton or we were visiting them in Wainwright.

One piece of advice that I’ll always remember him sharing was this: when you shake hands with someone, use a firm grip. A strong handshake instills confidence and lets the other person know that you are assertive. (Among other things, my grandpa was a savvy businessman.) I think of it every time I shake someone’s hand and was reminded of just how smart his advice was last week, when I was out with a friend for post-work drinks.

He pointed out a well-respected person in his line of work, extolling the guy’s work prowess. He immediately followed it up with, “But he has the limpest handshake ever. It’s terrible.”

That got us chatting about the importance of having a good handshake; I was grateful to have learned the lesson years ago from a very smart man. Here he is with my grandma, me, my little brother and the fish he helped us catch:

Curious to see what’s out there for advice on handshaking technique, I came across this post in wikiHow, titled How to Give a Good Handshake. The detailed, eight-step process made me laugh. I particularly love step 1 of the process, which is certainly key: “Meet someone.”



A Work Outfit for Spring Day

I’m home for a quick layover between meetings. I got home from a very busy trip to Orlando late Saturday night, washed clothes, ate some vegetables, had some birthday cake with my dad and now I’m off to New York City tomorrow morning.

You feel sorry for me, I’m sure.

It’s always fun for me to go off to an out-of-town meeting for a few days. I usually work from home or coffee shops. My only incentive to get dressed is fear of the FedEx guy catching me in pj’s. But when I head out of town for work, I dress like a grown-up for a couple of days. I go about in heels and ironed clothes, pretending like I do this all the time and the heels don’t hurt at all.

This outfit below is one of my favourites. I got a few compliments on it in Orlando and I’ll be pulling it out in NYC again next week. It’s professional without being stuffy; edgy without being over-the-top.



The glasses above are by Warby Parker. I have similar ones from Michael Kors but I like these ones better. My own skirt is from Club Monaco. I couldn’t find a picture of it in black so I switched it up here for one from Toque Girl fave, Mackage.


Bag: 442 McAdam

Glasses: Warby Parker

Shoes: Kurt Geiger

Shirt: Aritzia

Skirt: Mackage