Things We Like Fridays

Happy long weekend! We hope you have restful plans because, well, resting up pre-Stampede is a wise, wise choice. As for the Toque Girls, Michelle will be taking it easy at her family’s cabin and Chris will be sleeping, hiking and eating in beautiful Fernie.

Let’s dive right into Things We Like:

  • First up, these Tory Burch wedges that Michelle bought in L.A. She has worn them non-stop since and can’t recall ever receiving so many compliments on her footwear. They’re comfy, go with everything from jeans and shorts to dresses, and — best of all — were on sale. Meet her new fave shoe:
  • The summer issue of HERS magazine arrived last weekend! Many of our friends have stories or photos in the issue and your very own Toque Girls contributed a few stories, too. Michelle wrote the cover story on the incredible, Canmore-based humanitarian Amanda Lindhout, as well as a spa round-up, and Chris wrote the Health Boosters piece. Do check out the online flip-book!
  • In time for Canada Day, the Globe and Mail has posted an unscientific “What kind of Canadian are you?” quiz. According to her answers, Michelle is pegged as a “prairie dweller” but not an “Albertan.” Chris is an “East Coaster” and least likely to be from Alberta or BC. Interesting! What are you?
  • Now, taking a look at Canadian fashion, the HuffPo has a fun round-up of Canadian cult classics. (Chris’ much-loved Roots sweats made the list.)
  • We love our friend Leah Hennel’s portraits of real-life Alberta cowboys for the Calgary Herald. Stampede can’t come soon enough! (BTW, there’s a new official app for the Calgary Stampede. It’s a good way to track concerts, parties and rodeo events!)
  • Chris went on a summer Sephora splurge this week and discovered Deep Throat Blush by NARS Cosmetics. Have you tried it? It’s a really light pink, so good for summer days.
  • The world lost an incredible writer this week. Here’s a funny piece from Nora Ephron in 2003 where she writes about her experience as an intern in the Kennedy White House. She says she’s the only intern that JFK didn’t make a pass at.
  • Last but not least, congratulations Miranda Russell! You’re the winner of the $50 gift card for The Core. We’ll email you later today!

Have a great weekend and a happy Canada Day. We’ll see you Tuesday!

~The Toque Girls


A Night at National

Last week, Michelle blogged about National, a new beer hall on 17th. Her only complaint: the long tables made it difficult for single people to mingle.

I’m married and quite happy sitting at the midpoint of a long table (that’s where appetizers are most likely to be dropped off). I’m more likely to pay attention to things like food and beer. We went again last night to the National and here’s the story from the point of view from someone hitched. (Actually, it’s from my iphone’s perspective. That’s the best way to track the evidence.)

5:30 pm: We arrive for a media/VIP grand opening. The patio is sunny and packed, glorious.

We march past the patio; we’re on a mission. Our friends are inside, seated near the towers of oysters at the oyster bar. I hope my friends always have the sense to hang out near the oysters.

5:45: We’re hanging out with our friend, Brenna from Stylista. I admire the massive beer list, posted on a flip screen like an airport in the 1980s. It lists over 100 North American microbrews. I’m a speedy reader but I cannot read through to the end before it flips and I need to start again. In the end, I settle on a black pilsner dark lager from Brew Brothers Brewery. All is good.

We take a photo.

As we’re checking out the photo, I get a text from the husband. It says, “Do you have white knee-high socks?”

The girls marvel at his weirdness. So do I. I can’t even begin to explain the text. I text back, “no, I do not. I grew out of that phase long ago.”

6:15: We sit down at the middle of one of the long tables. We eat oysters, slides and corn dogs with friends. Everyone is happy (even Michelle, though she is looking to score a spot at the end of the table). Rotisserie smells very, very good.

We’re sitting with an architecture student and clothing designer and we all admire the clean open space.

Michelle texts me that she has white knee high socks and I can borrow them. I reply with, “Awesome. They are fort husband.”

I realize that I should probably get more food.

6:45: We order more pints. This time, I go with a Phillips Blue Buck, a favourite from last summer’s adventures in Victoria. I could’ve gone with any number of my favourites: Fernie Brewing Company, Village Brewery, Anchor Brewing, Granville Island. Realize that I’ve lost my own taste in beer and adopted the husband’s. Point for him.

7:00: I am introduced to a boy that seems oddly familiar. He feels the same. Michelle seems to know both of us and is giving me weird looks that I should clue in. Am wondering about past dalliances and then, I remember: he used to be one of my editors. Funny thing, freelancing. Someone can be your editor and you have no idea who they are.

7:15: There is an animal protecting the washroom hallway. I like that.

8:00: We leave. It’s a school night and there’s a long weekend followed by Stampede ahead.

Final assessment: National works for singles and marrieds.





My cowboy boots are all gussied up for Stampede

I don’t know about you, but after every Calgary Stampede, my boots look like they’ve spent all summer tromping through mud fields. After the two-stepping and treading through puddles of booze (and who knows what else) in the party tents, my dark brown boots are tired. Like their owner.

This year, however, my boots are looking fantastic. I decided to spend a lofty $6 to have Ariel — a shoe shine guy who’s in the plus 15 level between the Bow Valley and Suncor buildings — buff my Alberta Boot Company boots until they looked almost new again. Now they’re ready to make their fashion debut during The Core‘s fashion show next Wednesday, July 4. I’ll be making a quick (and *fingers crossed* stumble-free) appearance in the mall’s free Stampede fashion show, which begins at 12:20 p.m. on Stephen Avenue. We’ll be wearing urban, contemporary Stampede style. Come check it out!

In the meantime, consider taking your boots to Ariel. Here he is, holding my dirty boots and thinking he should have asked me for $50. He’s a brave man:

And here are my clean, shiny boots, after Ariel worked his magic:

Best $6 I’ve spent in a long time.




Calgary Stampede Fashion for Parties

Thanks for all the great comments on yesterday’s post. Now, onto part two of our Stampede fashion series for The Core!

Spend one day at the Stampede and you’ll quickly realize that whole rodeo thing is just a sideshow to the parties. The festivities go on 24 hours a day and you can celebrate ’round the clock. Good boots, a breezy dress and a few extra layers (we can’t tell you how many times we’ve walked home in the cold because we couldn’t get a taxi!) always serve us well at a Stampede party. To finish off the outfit, we believe in adding something a little random — like, say, a Gucci horse bit necklace that’s worth as much as a Stampede rodeo purse. Sounds crazy, we know, but Stampede is no place for practicality. You won’t hear that “p” word anywhere in Calgary between July 6 and 15th.

For going out, we love this pink Debutante dress from Aritzia (comes in white, too!). You could always throw a belt — or a Gucci necklace — around the waist. We’d pair it with some comfy Frye short boots, and a great bag from Rebecca Minkoff. (Holt Renfrew carries Gucci, Frye and Rebecca Minkoff!) The jacket below comes from the Gap.


We still have a $50 gift card for The Core to give away to one lucky reader. To enter the draw, just leave us a comment on today’s blog post. You can enter again even if you commented yesterday. Make sure to comment before midnight on Thursday.  We’ll announce the winner on Friday!

~The Toque Girls

PS – Want more Stampede fashion? Check us out on Pinterest. We started a folder of some great Stampede looks.


Calgary Stampede Fashion for Work

The Calgary Stampede begins next week (woot!), but we’ve been thinking about our wardrobes for a long time now. (ie. You know you’re a Calgarian when you’re shopping in Los Angeles in April and you pull things off the rack, saying, “How cute would this dress be for Stampede?”). If you’ve never been to the Stampede, here’s how it works, fashion-wise: everyone dresses up. You could just wear jeans, boots and plaid shirts for 10 days straight and call it a day (or a Stampede), or you could add your own personal touch. We prefer the latter approach. So, when The Core asked us to pull together a look that we’d wear during the Calgary Stampede, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to share a few of the Toque Girls’ favourites. Today, we’ve assembled a Stampede-worthy look for work; tomorrow, we’ll share our party picks. We love the outfit below for its slight hippy-ish vibe, not to mention the killer Alexis Bittar bangle.

We have a $50 gift card for The Core to give away to one lucky reader. To enter the draw, just leave us a comment on today’s or tomorrow’s blog post. We’ll announce the winner on Friday!

~The Toque Girls