Fave 5: Style icons for our spring shopping list

There’s a little spring in our step and we’re ready to shed our winter coats and rejuvenate our wardrobes with a little somethin’ new from the shops. Today, we’ve pulled together a few snaps from our favourite style icons to build our spring shopping list.

Jane Birkin
Jane Birkin
Short dresses. 
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Tall boots.
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Jane Birkin.
White swimwear.
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Jane Birkin
Pretty flats & elaborate dresses.
Faye Dunaway
Faye Dunaway in Bonnie & Clyde
Carefully draped scarves.Image source

Faye Dunaway in The Thomas Crown Affair
Slouchy turtlenecks.
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Faye Dunaway
Big hats paired with oversized shades.
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Faye Dunaway's post-Oscar Breakfast, March 29 1977 Photography by Terry O'Neill
Post-party dressing gowns.
Faye Dunaway’s post-Oscar breakfast 

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Catherine Deneuve

Catherine Deneuve
False lashes.

Catherine Deneuve
Push-up bra, t-shirt & jeans.
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Catherine Deneuve
Black & white tunics.
Catherine Deneuve in St. Tropez, 1965. Photo by Milton H. Greene
Cute rompers with bare feet.
Jean Shrimpton
Jean Shrimpton, 1960s.
More bare feet.
Jean Shrimpton, 1964.
Jaunty hats.
Jean Shrimpton
White jeans.
Jean Shrimpton.
Snug sweaters.
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Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks
Graphic tees.
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Stevie Nicks
Stevie Nicks
Stevie Nicks
Black. Always black.

Fave 5: Handy online tools that will make you better

It’s the third week of January – how many of your New Year’s resolutions are still active? Yep… us too. But it’s not too late! Today we’re sharing a few of our favourite handy and fun websites to help you stay on track for 2013.

Resolution #1: Read more

For everyone who pledged to read more, meet Goodreads. The largest site for readers in the world, you can track and rate each book you read this year, connect with friends to see what they’re reading and receive personalized recommendations based on your virtual ‘bookshelf’. Their 2013 Reading Challenge will even help you develop your resolution into a trackable goal. Very handy when a friend asks for a recommendation, or when you’re $5 below free shipping at Amazon or Chapters.

It doesn’t get much nerdier than this. But it’s fun.

Resolution #2: Budget

Dealing with your finances is never fun, but there are tons of online tools and apps to help you out. However, if you’re like us it all falls apart when you have to remember to track purchases, input data, etc. If this is you, you need Mint.com. It pulls data automatically from your financial accounts, categorizing and tracking all of your purchases. You can input a budget, and Mint will send you an email when you exceed your monthly budget in a particular category (as if we aren’t guilty enough already). Get ready to face the music and find out where your paychecks are going.

So THAT’s where it went. 

Resolution #3: Lose weight/eat healthier

Who doesn’t try to eat a little better after the holidays? This online site and app, Loseit, helps you count calories. Enter your deets, and it’ll calculate a daily caloric intake for you that jives with your weight loss goal. With many foods pre-entered, it’s easy see what you should/shouldn’t be eating. Will the shame of entering three glasses of wine and a bag of M&Ms as your dinner help change your eating habits?

Resolution #4: Improve your attitude

Maybe 2013 has been off to a slow start, or you haven’t found your motivation yet. Do what we do here on the fourth floor: begin your day with a daily affirmation from the universe, delivered straight to your inbox and “designed to remind you that you have been given dominion over all things.” Mind over matter, right? 

Start each day this year with a reminder like this from Notes from the UniverseWhat if everything that’s happened so far, was just practice for when things get really, really good? Really, really soon – The Universe

Get on board here.

Resolution #5: Switch up your style

Are you in a style rut? In addition to trolling Pinterest for inspiration, take it a step further and add to the conversation with Polyvore. Find or add clothing, shoes or accessories that you own, then create and share outfits. Admittedly, this can take a lot of time, so the lazy person’s solution: search for items you own and see how other fashionistas have styled them. 

Fave 5: Podcasts

As much as we love riding our bikes to work, we’re also secretly a bit (a very LITTLE bit) excited that the snow means we have to walk or take transit. Why? Because it means that we can spend our commutes listening to our favourite podcasts. There are so many to choose from – just spend some time browsing the options on iTunes, for starters. They literally cover any topic you can imagine, and are a great way to pick up interesting conversation tidbits for cocktail parties (and, uh, to learn about the world of course). 

If you’re new to the podcast world, here are our favourite five to listen to. What are your favourites?

A recent recommendation from a friend, this podcast hilariously critiques (mostly) terrible movies that are so bad, they’re amazing (in the literal sense of the term). Friends Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas host the show with very funny guests, like comedian Doug Benson. The first episode we listened to was Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1, and we were hooked. It’s created in conjunction with Earwolf, a digital content producer helmed by Scott Aukerman (who created “Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis”), so you know it’s basically a guaranteed laugh.

Listen or download here. Start with: really, any movie they discuss that you’ve seen and thought was horrible. You will relate and laugh. Trust.

This is perhaps our favourite – we love, love, love Ira Glass and his weekly show highlighting a small slice of life in America. The show picks a theme like “Self-Improvement” or “Babysitting” and explores different aspects of the topic through stories from regular people. The results are thought-provoking, compelling and interesting shows that will have you wishing your commute to work was just a little bit longer. You’ll never think about the mundane in the same way again after listening to this show.

Listen and download here. Start with: the Favourites list. Staff have chosen their top picks from their 400+ shows and it’s a great way to become introduced to Ira and his team. One of our personal faves is “What Doesn’t Kill You“, which outlines a true and shocking story of a shark attack on a 13-year old girl, in a series of stories about near-death experiences.

For the occasional science and technology fix, we turn to cult favourite Radiolab. This show is less frequent than most other podcasts, but with good reason – each episode is over an hour long and is extensively researched. Similarly to This American Life, host Jad Abumrad and his team choose one topic to explore in depth. Things like Guts, Loops, Escapes and Colours; topics that seem really straightforward and simple, but they delve into each topic and dig up some astounding facts and revelations. Example: the mantis shrimp can see colours that we cannot even conceive of, because they have more cones in their eyes than we do. In fact, this shrimp can see more colours than any other living species on the planet. Cool, right?

Listen and download here. Start with: the Colours episode we just mentioned. It’s pretty rad.

You Look Nice Today
This show is a bit of brain candy, self-described as “a journal of emotional hygiene” that discusses emotional “adult” issues, and is really just some pretty funny banter between three friends (Adam Lisagor, Scott Simpson and Merlin Mann) who met on Twitter. It’s a good mental break when you’ve had a rough day and need to forget about your life for awhile and focus on someone else’s neuroses. 

Listen and download here. Start with: honestly, anywhere. Just delve right in and get to know these dudes. This one is pretty funny.

Good Job, Brain!
This is a new discovery for us (and a relatively new podcast) and we are thrilled for the nerdy goodness it provides. We love trivia and this radio show that’s part quiz show, part under-the-radar news stories satisfies our thirst for facts. Hosts Karen Chu, Colin Felton, Chris Kohler and Dana Nelson are self-confessed trivia junkies and bring you random facts about just about any topic you can think of. If this doesn’t prepare you for weekly trivia night at The Drake Hotel, nothing will. 

Listen and download here. Start with: episode one! Might as well start at the beginning, for maximum knowledge acquirement. Plus, it’s about alcohol and candy. Delish. 

Fave 5: Summer Camp Movies

Throughout many of our childhood and adolescent years, the end of June meant two things: no more school and the beginning of camp! Whether for a week or an entire summer, day or overnight, camp was a defining time in our lives. Something about hot temperatures, arts and crafts, the outdoors, raging hormones and a respite from teachers and parents combined to make camp a hallowed experience. A place where eternal friendships were forged, first kisses were had and our attitudes to actual camping-related activities established.

Now that the years of two month summer holidays are behind us, our memories of camp become more distant and mythical. If we aren’t able to run away to summer camp, then the next best thing is to relive it through the magic of cinema. So, without further ado, we present our five favourite camp films. 

The Parent Trap

Before Lindsay Lohan turned into Hollywood’s Problem Child she had a promising career ahead of her. This 1998 remake of The Parent Trap showcased Lohan as twin girls who were accidentally reunited at summer camp. The two then switch places and scheme to get their parents reunited. As you can imagine, hilarious hijinks ensue.

Heavy Weights

Heavy Weights tells the tale of a fat camp gone horribly awry when its management is taken over by fitness wacko, Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller). When their idyllic camp turns hellish, the campers plot to wrest back control from Perkis, who is using the campers as test subjects for his slenderizing infomercial. This summer classic was also the first feature film written by comedy expert, Judd Apatow


The inimitable Bill Murray stars in Meatballs, a screwball comedy set at a low-budget summer camp. Murray plays Tripper, the head camp counselor who leads his charges to participate in the annual Olympiad against a rival camp. Challenges include potato sack racing and a disgusting hot dog eating contest, which is available for your viewing pleasure below. 

Moonrise Kingdom

First love is often found at summer camp. In the newest offering from Wes Anderson, Sam (Jared Gilman) escapes from his Khaki Scout troop to run away with the love of his life, Suzy (Kara Hayward). Their idyllic traipse through the wilderness is disrupted by a violent storm and various parents and authorities trying to track them down. Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton round out the cast, but the young protagonists are the stars of the show.

Troop Beverly Hills

Okay, so while this technically has nothing to do with summer camp, Troop Beverly Hills appeals to the office’s Brownies/Girl Guide alumni. Phyllis (Shelley Long) is a Beverly Hills housewife who attempts to deal with her divorce by assuming control of her daughter’s (a young Jenny Lewis) Wilderness Girl troop. Phyllis imparts some Rodeo Drive swagger to the troop, but soon learns that money alone can’t buy badges. 

Fave 5: Things to pack for the beach

Spending a lazy, sunny day at the beach is as much a rite of summer as eating corn-on-the-cob and ducking out of work early to enjoy a drink on the patio. Too many times we find ourselves in such a rush to plant ourselves on the sand that we forget to pack some essential items. To keep your trip waterside as blissful as possible, we’ve done the work for you and rounded up the top five things you should bring to the beach. 

Beach Blanket

Make sure to match your bathing suit to your beach blanket.

A towel is important if you’re planning on taking a dip, but no one wants to sit on a soggy piece of terry cloth (at least, not us). Enter the beach blanket. You want one that is lightweight, large enough to share with friends and preferably in a fun colour or pattern. We love this throw from Anthropologie or this upcycled blanket from Etsy, but you can use an old sheet if you’re in a bind. 


The easiest sunscreen application. 

We don’t want to sound like a broken record, but we can’t stress the importance of wearing sunscreen this summer. Be sure to apply at least 30 minutes before heading outside and throw it in your bag to re-apply every 1-2 hours. We already gave some suggestions on our favourite organic sunscreen brands (read it here), but wanted to share one more. Lesa Hannah tweeted about this sunscreen “game changer” Janine Falcon introduced her to: Sun Defense Minerals by Eminence. This mineral-based face protector is easily applied with a brush and is hypoallergenic – perfect for those with sensitive skin. 

Hydrating drinks

We’re partial to this flask from the Drake General Store. 

As much as we love Ontario’s lakes, we wouldn’t recommend gulping it down if you’re thirsty. It’s extra-important to stay hydrated in the heat, so pack some hydrating drinks (and no, alcohol absolutely does not count) to bring with you. Water is always your best bet, but a refreshing home-brewed iced tea would work too. Gracie Carroll has an easy recipe over on her blog.

A good read

Can’t beat a great love story at the beach.

Whether it’s a trashy gossip mag or you’re re-reading Anna Karenina, a good read is a beach essential. We’re partial to fun, lighter reads in the summertime. Some of our top suggestions: Summer Sisters, Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century, The Night Circus or Your Voice in my Head.

A cute cover-up

Better than cute, this cover-up is on sale right now at Shopbop.

After a day in the sun and sand, there’s nothing less appealing than putting on “real” clothing. Cover-ups are easy to throw on over you bathing suit whether you’re heading to the restroom or  wanting to keep that beach-y vibe going once you leave. The perfect cover-up should be lightweight, so its also perfect to throw on if you’re getting a bit too much sun. 

Fave 5: Places to buy swimsuits

Much like sunglasses, the guidelines for the perfect trendy-yet-flattering swimsuit are fairly generous. Over the years it has generally been the patterns and details that have changed and evolved while the shapes and structures have remained basically the same. We all know that different shapes work for different body types, so whether it’s a classic triangle bikini, bandeau or high waisted short shorts you’re after, here are our five favourite shops to find the perfect swimsuit. 

The Narwhal 8 Price St. 
Let’s start with some of the most incredible bikinis we’ve seen in a while. While the Narwhal is not strictly a swimsuit store, they do carry Mara Hoffman swimwear, need we say more? The bright and vibrant patterns as well as the flattering shapes of her swimsuits make us wish every day was a beach day.

We love the simple shapes with bold patterns.
Ah, to be at the beach…

Sandpipers 87 Yorkville Ave. & 2580 Yonge St.
With locations both downtown and uptown, Sandpipers is a convenient one-stop shop for all things swim. With over 15 brands including Vix, Australian designer Sea Folley and Agua Bendita, there is sure to be a bather for every body shape and occasion. 

Crazy patterns from Agua Bendita.
A classic Vix L.B.B (Little Black Bikini).

Victoria’s Secret Eaton Centre & Yorkdale Mall
Ever since we can remember, we have been loyal Victoria’s Secret swimsuit customers. The endless options, quick shipping and great sales made ordering from them a no-brainer. So imagine our delight when Victoria’s Secret opened in Toronto! Usually when American stores open up north of the border, prices seem to sky rocket. Luckily this was not the case here. Mix and match away, each piece costs as little as $15. 

A couple of our favourite new arrivals at Victoria’s Secret.

If you haven’t yet scoped out the bathing scene at H&M we suggest you go… right now. Much like most of the highly coveted pieces at H&M, the shelf life of these stylish pieces is pretty much non-existent. With bottoms for $5.95, grab as many as you can and you will have a new combination for every occasion this summer. 

Great as sets or as mix and match pieces. We can’t wait to see what H&M has to offer next. 

With all this talk of swimsuits we’re thinking we better hit up the gym. Summer is just around the corner and we plan on being bikini ready. 

Fave Five: Moments from the Toronto production of Bring It On: The Musical

When the invite landed in our inbox, we couldn’t have been more thrilled – two tickets to the opening night of Bring It On, the musical that Mirvish recently debuted in Toronto. We were huge BIO fans in high school, with the first film starring Kirsten Dunst instantly becoming a classic, joining our other teen faves like Clueless and Dirty Dancing. Rewatching it now that we’re older and wiser only confirmed our love for the movie (and also caused us to wonder how they got away with some of the lines that are a little more…risque and non-PC. But that’s another post). 

Photo: Craig Schwartz.

Overall, the musical was awesome. We were a bit surprised to discover that it doesn’t really follow the plot of the original film, but in the end, it was as good thing. No one would be able to really do justice to KDunst’s character, anyway. 

Here are our five favourite moments from the play. If these don’t convince you to go and see it, we don’t know what will. 

1. Bridget: Played by Ryann Redmond, she is far and away the best character in the play. So. Many. Funny. Moments. She’s the foil to the ultra-put-together and popular Campbell (KDunst’s Torrence counterpart in the play, played by Taylor Louderman), and has some pretty hilarious lines. One of the best is not a line at all, but rather the way she waves her parrot wing in a sad flap after being told she’s not good enough to be on the squad, and has to continue playing the mascot. She also delivers some solid life lessons to Campbell about fitting in, and girl knows how to shake her booty. 

Bridget steals the show (and Twig’s heart!).

2. The moment when La Cienega (Gregory Haney), a fierce and funny transvestite, calls Campbell out on her bullshit comment that La Cienega wouldn’t understand what it’s like to not fit in. Seriously. The audience laughed so hard, as it was a very funny moment, but it was also a really strong point in the production for one of the main messages to hit home – fitting in vs. being yourself.

One of the best characters of the play: La Cienega. 
Photo: Craig Schwartz.

3. The AMAZING tumbling that happens: The athleticism of some of the performers was quite remarkable. We could literally hear the audience draw in their collective breath during some of the highest tosses in the air or particularly tricky-looking backflips or other… gymnastic-y moves. Plus there were some solid break dancers and hip-hoppers. There’s some serious talent on that stage, which makes the show that much more enjoyable, and the characters that much more believable.

Skilled, skilled dancers at Jackson High.
Photo: Joan Marcus.

4. Campbell’s leprechaun dance: The girls at Jackson High (the school in the “hood” that Campbell gets transferred to) make Campbell put on a leprechaun mascot outfit and perform at a dance-off of sorts that they’re having. It’s really, really funny to see a massive leprechaun head dancing around on stage. Trust. Plus, Taylor Louderman is actually very skilled at dancing in that ridiculous costume. 

A glimpse of the leprechaun suit.
Image source.

5. How fun it is. Sometimes it’s really nice to see a production purely for entertainment value, which this one has in spades. Yes, theatre should sometimes be deep and meaningful and thought-provoking. And we love those productions just as much. But honestly, seeing this with a good friend who appreciates easy humour with a glass of wine in your hand (yes, you can drink during plays at the Ed Mirvish Theatre!) is a really good night out. 

Sequins and dance? Pretty much a guaranteed good time.
Photo: Joan Marcus.

Honourable mention: The use of Google maps/street view. Because it was neat, it worked, and makes the show relevant to both younger and older audiences. Plus, we’d never seen that device used in a play before and we’re suckers for a clever gimmick.

Bring It On: The Musical is playing until at Ed Mirvish Theatre (244 Victoria St) until Sunday, June 3, 2012. Performances run Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday 2 p.m. 
Ticket prices range from $35 to $130 depending on the performance. Rush seats are available for $25.
Tickets are available online, in person, or by calling the box office at 416-872-1212.