Jet Set: Collingwood

While cottage weekends have come and gone, it’s still nice to get out of the city from time to time, if only for the night. While most of us probably associate Collingwood with skiing, hot chocolate and the Blue Mountain Village, trust us, there is whole lot more to do in Cwood all year round. One of our favourite times of year to head up north is during the fall, as the scenery and changing leaves on the drive up are always breathtaking. So if you’re looking for a quick getaway, we suggest jumping in the car and heading to one of Ontario’s most beautiful regions.

Scenic fall road.

Where to stay:
While there is no shortage of hotels and condos in the Blue Mountain Village (our personal favourite is the Westin Trillium, overlooking the whole village) why not try something different and check out one of the quaint bed and breakfasts in town? With Victorian decor and “modern British” cuisine, the Bacchus House, located three blocks from downtown Collingwood, is sure to make you feel like you’re on a mini vacation. For a more historic feel, there is is the Joseph Lawrence House which was built in the 1800s and is now a Heritage Home. Other B&B options include the Thurso House, Willow Trace Bed and Breakfast and Pretty River Valley Country Inn

The view from the Westin Trillium.

The beautiful, historic Thurso House.

What to do:
Whether it’s adventure, relaxation or both you’re after, there is always plenty to do in and around Collingwood. Start your day off at the Scenic Caves, do a guided tour, check out the suspension bridge, tree top walk or zip line: the views are breathtaking. For more activities  check out the Tees Please driving range or Adventure Park at Blue Mountain where you can try anything from mountaintop Segway tours to the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster. 

Next, you don’t have to go to Niagara to taste local Ontario wines. Georgian Hill Vineyards offers tastings Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., we can think of few things better than sipping wine in the countryside. We suggest you end your day at the Scandinave Spa where you can unwind and enjoy the hot and cold baths, steam rooms (the eucalyptus room is amazing) and relaxation areas. Massages are also available if you want to turn it into a full spa experience.

View from the suspension bridge at the Scenic Caves.

Scandinave Spa.

Where to eat:
While the Blue Mountain Village offers pretty much anything you can think of, it’s often very crowded and VERY touristy. We suggest sticking to downtown Collingwood, or even venturing to Thornbury, the next town over, where you can find some of the most quaint and delicious restaurants around. Start with lunch or brunch in town at Cafe Chartreuse, Duncan’s Cafe, or our personal favourite, The Tremont Cafe. While the Tremont has some of the tastiest brunch food we’ve had, they also serve a pretty great (albeit a little pricy) dinner. Other great options, and places we’ve gone back to time after time include Tesoro, The Huron Club and Azzurra. And if you’re willing to make the drive to Thornbury (and we suggest you do) be sure to try Simplicity Bistro, one of many delicious restaurants in one of our favourite little towns. Note, Simplicty Bistro also offers a pretty divine brunch. 

The beautiful Tremont Cafe.

Azzurra Trattoria by night.
We hope we’ve changed your perception of Collingwood as nothing but a winter tourist trap. With more and more people choosing to live there year round, the restaurant and outdoor activity scenes have really flourished in the last few years, and are only going to get better. 


Fashion-able: Fall Must Haves

Although we will miss patio evenings (and patio afternoons
and let’s face it, patio mornings sometimes), we do enjoy the crisp fall weather
and dressing for the season.  Because the
FW 2012 shows seem like a distant memory (right?), here is a roundup of what we’re coveting
for the season. 

Must have bag of the season:

We’re obsessed with the DVF class-with-a-twist Carolina Lips
Satin Clutch. The rich jewel tone, compact size and gold embellishment will
compliment any LBD. 

Must have shoe of the season:

So we realize these shoes aren’t exactly the most new,
however, we STILL really want them (donations to our Charlotte Olympia Kitty
Cat Suede Slipper fund are currently being accepted). And Beyonce
just wore them.  If they’re good enough
for Lady B, they’re good enough for us. 

Must have jacket of the season:

Transitional jackets are the best for many reasons. They’re
sleek, not bulky and much more form flattering. Enter the Dawn jacket by RUDSAK. With the asymmetrical shape, lambskin
details and gunmetal hardware, you can see why this jacket is on our must-buy list this

Must have sweaters of the season:

All our favourite fashion blogs are featuring casual,
printed sweaters, as seen here: 


And here:

Run, don’t walk, to pick up these items. Because before you
know it, Sorels and Canada Goose parkas (gasp!) will be your new wardrobe items necessity, not choice.

Rave: Happy Thanksgiving weekend!

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Fall is here (like we mentioned last week), which means chunky knits, Halloween, and of course, the Thanksgiving long weekend. We’ve gone from telling our parents we’re thankful for our Barbies and Archie comics to the ill-fated “turkey drop“. These days, Thanksgiving is a time to put on your stretchy pants, sit down with friends and family and have a good time, with an extra day off to recuperate. Whether you’re having turducken,  a meat-free dinner or just a plain turkey,
this holiday entails festive fall colours, appreciating who and what’s around
you and, of course, delicious food. Here are some photos that embody
Thanksgiving – and don’t forget the cherpumple for dessert.

Photo Friday: Fall

When we think fall, we think the delicious Thanksgiving feast, beautifully crafted leatherware and the crisp crunch of leaves under our feet. Our appreciation of the season gets squeezed in somewhere between the craziness of TIFF and the start of World MasterCard Fashion Week. Delightful tastes, colours and fashions- autumn is one of our favourite times of year, but before we know it it will all be replaced with mall Santas, snow storms and big down jackets.  

Image via Rudsak. 

Fashion-able: Fall beauty, naturally

Here on the fourth floor we are
digging fall. Feeling good layering plush sweaters with soft leathers,
bringing cozy patterned and knit scarves back into rotation and adding comfort
and class to any look with our favourite boots (we love Rudsak‘s luxurious leather selection).

While we’re always watching the
runways to stay on top of fall fashion must haves (texture, shine and wine hues
are big this year – look for brocades, rivets and leather trimmed items) we
never forget the importance of putting our best face forward.

Fall runways featured vampy lips,
bright jewel hues and graphic eyeliner, but the biggest trend of all? Raw
natural beauty. Below we share our secrets, direct from an office full of
women, to getting the natural healthy glow that is so now and how to sport
other trendy makeup looks without looking like you’ve been unfavourably cast in
a Reitmans commercial.

The Natural Look:

We love Bette Franke looking naturally beautiful for Balmain. 
Image Sources: Face, Runway

The goal here is to look healthy
and youthful. The
basic rules of natural makeup still apply; numero uno: look like you’re wearing
none. Trending this season are big brows and barely there blush.

Brows: If you’re like us, you’ve been growing out your brows for a while now. However, even if you haven’t,
or if you’re stuck with sparse ones, don’t fear. A little eye shadow or a
brow pencil can help. To keep it looking natural resist the temptation to
overdo it and opt for a shade slightly darker than your hair colour.

Eyes: If you’re like us and live by
the motto ‘work hard, play harder’ you probably want to start with concealer to
brighten up the area around the eye and reduce the dark circles that sometimes creep up there. Sweep a neutral powder (close in colour to your skin tone) from
eyelid to brow bone and blend a brown toned shadow into your crease. Stay on
trend by selecting a brown with hints of bronze, gold or burgundy. Avoid liner.
To open up the eyes press black eye shadow into the outer half of the upper
lash line. Finish with mascara (for longer lashes sans mascara, try Peptalash).

Cheeks: Sable tinted blushes are
great with fall colours, but when selecting your blush, work off your lip colour
and skin tone. Most important here is blending. When you are done, there should
be a hint of colour on your cheekbones, like you’ve just returned from a crisp
fall hike.

Lips: Three signs of healthy,
youthful lips are fullness, colour and smoothness. It’s easy to keep your lips
smooth by applying a balm every night before bed. A lip stain or tinted gloss
can easily add a healthy touch of colour. Stick to natural red, pink and coral tones and veer away from mauve, magenta and really any purple hues. If you’re not endowed with big
smackers, a gloss or lipstick close to your skin tone is your best bet for
faking fullness. Select a matte nude lipstick to max out your pucker.

Skin: Smooth, even porcelain skin is super hot this fall. If you fear looking pasty (though we say, rock the pale), a bit of well-blended bronzer on the “3” zone looks lovely. The best
tip for good skin is the same as ever: wash your face every night (we loooove
Consonant’s Organic Foaming Face Wash!).

Complete the look: Braids, sleek side parts and tousled boho hair are big again this season. When it comes to nails anything goes so don’t be afraid to go long, short, pointed, square, bright or neutral (just stay away from the gel French manicure – try a reverse French manicure instead).

Vampy Lips:

While the heavy eyes and lips look great here, keep your eyes neutral for real life wear.
Image sources (clockwise from top left): light eyes, dark eyes, Fox, Bosworth

Deep red is huge this year! On the runway we saw bold, rich red lips take on a Gothic form: pale skin and bleached out eyes and brows paired with black-reds created an interesting bold-yet-fragile look. In addition to the Gothic look, this season’s beauty editorials also feature a daring combination of dark smoky eyes, bronzed skin and burgundy or Bordeaux lips. Deep red lips can absolutely be worked into daily life, but when in the office instead of on the runway avoid extremes in eye shadow. Stay on trend by keeping the peaks of your lips slightly rounded. Tip: buy a lip brush! It will make all the difference in application.

Jewel Hues:

Get inspired by these bold jewel tones, but wear them in a way that isn’t over powering.
Image sources (clockwise from upper left): ruby, sapphire, amethyst and amberMcAdamsOlsen, Bell 

Many designers paired this season’s powerful prints and colour blocking with bright emerald, sapphire, amethyst, amber and ruby shadows. We love that it’s cool to express yourself through colour like fashion divas Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry but we like to keep it cool in the office with subtle hints of colour that highlight either the upper or lower lash line or crease, but don’t dominate. Remember to keep the lips neutral when playing up the eyes

Graphic Eyeliner:

Graphic designs inspire unique liner looks this fall.
Image sources (clockwise from upper left): linear, cat, graphic, artsy, Adele, Swift

Think of the trends you’ve seen in colour blocking and nail art but in beauty! Let your artistic side out with intricate liner detailing. For the slightly-less-steady of hand try cat eyes a la Taylor Swift or other blocky, punk or retro (think Adele), inspired liner designs. Once again, tone it down for the office (and don’t be discouraged if you can’t match the best beauty editorials – Photoshop helps a lot).

Under Eye Shadow:

This look is not for the timid!
Image source (clockwise from upper left): white and black swipes, liner, shadow

Seen most recently at London’s s/s 2013 fashion week, bold eyeliner and shadows under the eye are our new favourite trend. Nothing says you’re confident in your looks like purposely adding to the shadows under your eyes. To get the look simply add black shadow or Khol liner to the natural look described above. Warning: must be worn with confidence. That’s where true beauty lies anyway.

Fashion-able: Put a ring on it

With the crisp breeze in the air, we’re breaking out our sweaters and stocking up on Joe Fresh tights. While we’re very excited about reintroducing our fall garb into the clothing rotation, we’re also always on the hunt for new jewels. Below are some pieces we’re coveting this fall.

To start, this season is going to continue to show our upper fingers some love with the ubiquitous knuckle ring. From a great, simple band (seen below left from Jacflash) to something with a little flare (like the chevron ring on the right from Etsy), a good quality ring you can mould to your finger + a fun manicure are perfect for the fall season. 

Speaking of chevron shapes, this Dominic Jones ring is kinda superhero, kinda geometric and hella awesome. 

Image source

For when you want to spend a couple more dollars, this white topaz ring from Montreal-based Anzie is pretty perfect on it’s own, or stacked with other pieces. 

And for the times you want to adorn your hands with some straight up bling – weddings, cocktail parties or even everyday wear, we like this dazzling Erickson Beamon 22-karat gold-plated ring with green Swarovski crystals. BAM.

Back to more delicate rings: Toronto-based Lockett Jewels always has cute, fun pieces to choose from – and the best part is, her pieces are made to order so you can give exact style, size and material requirements. (psst: she also does custom necklaces & bracelets)

Another designer we love is Verameat. With Certain pieces available at Rac Boutique, the line has styles like Vampire Crown and Feather, where you can also choose the material you’d prefer, from brass to 14K gold. LOVE. 

 Buy yourself something pretty, YOLO. 

Fave Five: Fall Reads

Know that feeling when you finish a good book and fear you may miss the characters like they were your friends? Most of us on the fourth floor are just that type of bookworm.When a lot of  reading is a big part of our job, a good book is the sweet downtime we crave to connect with our inner fantasy world, even just for an hour or two.  

Like any awesome book club, we whittled down our communal list to five (sometimes) funny, (often times) historical and (every-so-often) light reads!

1982 by Jian Ghomeshi

Not only is the man the host and co-creator of the national
radio program Q, but Ghomeshi has now added the title of author to his resume.

Set in one year of his life, Ghomeshi pens a coming-of-age story based on the desire of his 14-year-old self to be David Bowie: eyeliner and all. Much to the chagrin
of his Iranian parents, Ghomeshi embarked on the journey to transform himself in order to win the
heart of an older woman (she was sixteen – oh, young love) in Thornhill. Funny and
heart-warming, the story is structured around 12 songs and important
moments from 1982. The book will be released by Penguin Canada tomorrow!
The Paris
by Paula McLain

The Paris Wife captures
Chicago in the 1920s. Chronicling the story of Ernest Hemingway and his wife
Hadley, who had all but given up on love before she met the famed author at the
age of 28. Before meeting Hemingway, Hadley was a gifted musician,
taking care of her sick mother. The golden couple of that era, they had a whirlwind romance before moving to Paris. Transitioning into the Parisian
lifestyle proves difficult, as Ernest struggles to find the voice that will
make his writings famous, documenting his life in a novel that would eventually
become The Sun Also Rises. Meanwhile,
Hadley struggles to hold onto her sense of self, juggling the role of wife,
friend and muse to the budding author. As if that wasn’t enough, a deception
 involving Hadley’s friend threatens to unravel their marriage.

Major “aww” factor: it is said that Hemingway wrote “that
he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.
” That is
until you realize how creepy is it to have a love triangle with your BFF, and
that Hemingway was married four times…

And the award for the longest book title goes to… Putilizer
Prize-winner Studs Terkel. Yes,
it’s not exactly the new kid on the block but still a book that we can
easily pick up during busy times because it’s written in small, easy to
digest pieces.

Dolores the waitress, with the grace of a
ballerina, the parking attendant who says ‘working people are better tippers
than Cadillac drivers’ and the cashier of thirty years who
can tell totals without looking at the screen are the subjects of the book that take us through the
lives of everyday workers, giving snippets of their triumphs, fears and (inevitable) lay-offs.

The story shows how they survived the daily grind and how they’ve been
touched by the people they encounter while on the job.  

Dotted with illustrations and photos from the 1900s, the
novel takes us through the beginnings of Gabrielle Chanel, her ascend to Coco Chanel, and the celebration of her creative genius and the only fashion
designer to be named on Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century.
Chanel is synomous with couture collections and the signature No.5 scent, and
much has been written about her beginnings as a seamstress and her fashionable return (at
the age of 70) to resurrect the House of Chanel. 

Hal Vaughan, in this part-suspense thriller, part-wartime narrative, tells the story of Chanel’s life
between 1941 and 1954 which has never been fully told by Chanel or by her many
biographers. Vaughan reveals Chanel’s collaboration and affair with high-ranking
Nazi officials, how she became a German intelligence operative and how she escaped an arrest in France. It’s a gripping read for fashionistas and bookworms alike.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry gives us a sneak peek into
the life of Harold Fry, a retiree living with his wife Maureen who is very
particular about the difference between jam and marmalade. 

One morning, Harold receives a post from an old co-worker, Queenie Hennessy (a name evoking images of
dollies, pink things and frolicky puppies) who writes her goodbyes from a
hospice. With a response in hand, Harold walks to the mail box to reply with well
wishes, but along the way is compelled to deliver the letter by hand, believing
that as long as he keeps walking, Queenie will live. 

This is the first novel by Rachel Joyce, incorporating a light read with bold characters that come to life- heck, Harold
could be one of our grandfathers…if they were British…