05/10/13

Things We Like Fridays

First off, Happy Mother’s Day to our dear Moms and to all the other moms in our lives! Thank you for all the things you do and how wonderfully you do it. On on the subject of Moms, here’s a funny text that made us laugh:

2013-05-09_07-55-02

 

  • And nine more texts that will make you appreciate your Mom.
  • Michelle’s interview with the Gansevoort hotelier, Michael Achenbaum, is up on AskMen.com. He chats about his new amazing boutique hotel in Las Vegas, interior design tips for guys and more.
  • Let’s discuss movies. Michelle watched Celeste and Jesse Forever last weekend and thought it was great. Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg are so good.
  • We often take book recommendations from Lainey; she never steers us wrong. The most recent example is Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, a book that Michelle’s mid-way through and loving. The New York Times described it this way: “A monument to crazy love . . . Walter [is] a believer in capricious destiny with a fine, freewheeling sense of humor.” It’s funny, indeed, and engrossing. Add it to your summertime reading list.
  • Also for your reading list, this hilarious read in the NY Times, “How I Became A Hipster.” Ha!
  • More reads and laughs, Chris sent Michelle this very funny piece on 19 female friendship truths as told by the movie Bridesmaids.
  • Chris and Spencer checked out Tutti Frutti last weekend, the new frozen yogurt spot in Mount Royal Village. Delicious! Chris swears by the green tea yogurt topped with peanut M&Ms, chocolate chips and cinnamon apple chunks.
  • All this warm weather has us thinking about summer dresses. This one is perfect. So is this.

Enjoy your weekends in the sun.

~The Toque Girls

05/8/13

Packing For A No-Cook Picnic

picnicpark

Some people’s weekend plans involve trips to Italy. Mine do not. No matter. I’ll still be dining al fresco.

I’m planning a weekend picnic with the boy. On the menu — a no-cook selection of goodies like cheese, fruit, cured meats, a baguette and, of course, a nice bottle of wine. The idea comes from this book on picnics, which my lovely friend Melissa gave me before I got married.

Author Sara Deseran has some delicious pairing suggestions for cheese (I’ll highlight my favourites below). I’m heading to the Italian store this afternoon to pick up a few combos. What do you think? Any additions?

  • Parmesan or Manchego cheese with apricot jam or figs.
  • Blue cheese like Gorgonzola with sliced apples or red grapes
  • Mild, soft-ripened cheese like Teleme with cherries
  • Tangy goat’s milk cheese with fresh figs, honey and walnut bread
  • Roquefort with toasted walnuts and ripe pears
  • English-style Cheddar with chutney and pickled onions or pickles
  • Shaved pecorino with fresh shelled fava beans

There you go — some delicious outdoor eats, no flight required.

~Chris

Photo via here

 

 

05/6/13

Buon Giorno, Italia

This was my horoscope on Friday (yes, I read my horoscope and only believe it when it’s good, like this one):

Did somebody say vacation?! It looks like you are more than ready, Michelle, because you can barely keep your head in the here and now. A friend may talk your ear off and get your juices really flowing. Try to settle down, though, and get through a minimum of your chores or tasks. Later you can spend the time dreaming about the soft white beaches or white mountain peaks that await you.

In my case, it’s not soft white beaches or white mountain peaks that await me. This weekend, I’m heading for the rolling hills in Tuscany and following that up with three days and nights in Rome. I’ll spend five days in Tuscany at an Exclusive Resorts estate home with a small media crew from Toronto. On our uber-relaxed schedule: optional day trips to Siena and Florence, cruising around on Vespas, a winery tour, a pizza-making class and lots of lounging.

After that, I’ll jump on a train en route to Rome, where I’ll spend the May long weekend exploring. I’ll be staying at a couple of amazing boutique hotels, courtesy of this awesome booking site, and plan to eat, drink, shop and be merry.

After the trip, I’ll write about my Italian adventures for both the Calgary Herald and our blog, of course. Please stay tuned. Till then, I’ll leave you with a few new things I picked up for my trip. This fedora from Aritzia — mine is a darker straw with a black band — will be worn poolside, and while exploring the cities. I wasn’t sure about it until another girl in the change room told me she bought it a few years ago and it’s her most prized hat for travel. She wears it onto the plane and throws it into the overhead compartment, to avoid squashing it in her suitcase. That will be my strategy next weekend.

Talula Pelham Hat from Aritzia

All winter, I wore a long-sleeve t-shirt to bed. For Italy, I wanted something lighter and cuter. I found the perfect thing at Holt Renfrew: a Daniel Buchler tank top and slouchy sweater cover-up. So cute and sexy and soft. Soft soft soft. I will be in heaven. Unfortunately, I can’t find the set online, but the shape of it resembles this Daniel Buchler tank:

Daniel Buchler sleepwear

My last purchase was a new bright coral maxi dress from Guess by Marciano, which I had hemmed so I can wear it with flat sandals. It hangs perfectly, is simple in the front and has some spice in the back:

Guess Malibu Cutout Maxi

Hooray for vacation. I can’t wait.

One last thing. Remember when I mentioned I’d be interviewing Michael Achenbaum, the Gansevoort hotelier? I had a great chat with him and the Q&A is running this Thursday on AskMen.com.  I hope you enjoy it.

~Michelle

Photos via here, here and here, respectively.

05/3/13

Things We Like Fridays

Bonjour, amis. We have busy weekends planned. How exciting to have gorgeous weather ahead, too. Chris is off to Sylvan Lake to celebrate the engagement of two good friends and Michelle has blog posts and freelance stories to write, errands to run pre-Italy trip (more on this on Monday) and healthy muffins to bake. Speaking of food, if you’re up for a road trip on this lovely weekend, consider heading to Canmore for a dinner at The Trough. Michelle ate there last weekend and is already wondering when she can make it back to have the stuffed squid again.

Stuffed squid at The Trough

Aside from food, here’s what else we’ve been happy about this week:

  • Michelle’s been using Trudeau’s new colourful line of kitchen tools, like this knife, this cutting board and this colander. She swears it makes cooking more fun.
  • This conditioner smells good. Thumbs up.
  • Have you seen Rag & Bone’s amazing tanks and tees for spring? We’ll take one of everything, please and thank you.
  • And have you seen the Lenovo laptop? Michelle’s brother bought one recently and it is full-on amazing. Michelle has computer envy.
  • Chris has mentioned her love for The Lumineers before. Michelle finally downloaded their album and can’t stop listening, especially to this song.
  • Chris made these muffins again this week. Huge hit. Huge.
  • Love this intriguing read about what your body language says about you.

Have a wonderful weekend.

~The Toque Girls

05/1/13

Calgary Roughnecks

The Flames aren’t in the playoffs this year. Boo whatever hoo. There’s a different playoff team in town that you ought to care about.

The Calgary Roughnecks are going to battle it out against the Washington Stealth in the West Division Final of the National Lacrosse League this Saturday night at the ‘Dome. I went to my first Roughnecks game last weekend and, wow, consider me hooked.

Here are 10 reasons why you ought to go see the Roughnecks this Saturday:

10. They play lively music throughout the entire game, not just during breaks like hockey games. It’s physically impossible to be grumpy and morose with those tunes. Bonus benefit: you’ll get great ideas for workout songs.

9. You get to shout, “Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang — Vamonos, Vamanos!” ad nauseum. (It’s the Roughnecks goal song.) Oddly therapeutic. Try it.

8. With tickets that start at $27 a pop, you can afford to take little kids. All those little kids make for a far more likeable crowd than the corporate set that usually dominates at professional hockey games. Dancing toddlers > drunk suits any day.

7. They shoot sparkly streamers from the rafters every time the Roughnecks score. Even if you’re not a kid, sparkly streamers are good for the soul.

6. It’s an excuse to eat Twizzlers and pretzels for dinner.

5. Who doesn’t think it’s cool to watch someone sprint up the sides of the boards?

4. Because this guy is awesome.

3. And so is he.

2. The goalies look like giant overstuffed cartoon characters as they defend their tiny little nets. I know I should admire their athleticism but laughter is my first response.

1. Because it’s the playoffs and the winner of this game moves on to the finals. The Roughnecks thrive on a rowdy, packed house. Captain Andrew McBride describes it like this: “When the crowd gets rocking here, you can see the other team’s body language kind of sag down and we really need that for momentum.”

You can get your tickets here. See you Saturday!

Calgary Roughnecks

~Chris

Photo by Brad Watson