Since my last post on Calgary in June of 2013 there has been a surge of great new establishments pop up. I haven't even got to all of them yet, but for now here is a list of the places I am most excited about as well as few oldies that are new to me.
Dirtbelly - Plus 15 Level TD Square 315 7th Avenue SW 403.452.3340
Welcome addition to the core shopping centre, Dirtbelly will satisfy a long overdue need for more health conscious to go cuisine in the city. Offering a beautiful array of salads, "bacos" (half taco half bread sandwiches), cold pressed juices and "tealada" beverages. Light and airy space.
Our Daily Brett - 2509 14th Street SW 403.457.0422
The gourmet traveler's perfect spot for lunch or busy professional's to-go dinner. Beautiful space to have a coffee and croissant or get some dips and cheeses for a impromptu gathering. They also sell a good selection of gourmet grocery items and cold pressed juices from Cru Juice.
Cru Juice - Multiple Locations 816 16th Avenue SW 403.452.2159
Cru Juice has been the fastest growing juice company in Calgary and they are popping up everywhere. Good thing as there was a huge market waiting for it. Cold Pressed Juice was a totally unknown concept to the city prior to that. Their newest location in Mount Royal Village not only offers smoothies and salads, but also a small lounge area where you can rest your feet after some serious shopping on 17th Ave. If you love Juice Served Here in LA, you will definitely like Cru Juice.
Wild & Raw Superfood + Juice Bar 1119 Kensington Rd NW 587.354.2729
Really love the neighbourhood feel of this awesome new addition to Kensington. On my first visit here the owner offered me a sample of their house bone broth which was delicious and totally comforting on the cold winter day. Most recently I tried one of their made to order juices which was super delicious and made with 100% organic ingredients. Great menu and friendly staff. Now also offering cold pressed juice in glass bottles.
Monogram Coffee 4814 16th Street SW 403.473.3886
also at Dade Gallery patio in Inglewood 1327 9th Avenue SE 403.454.0243
Have yet to try the coffee but have heard rave reviews.
Proof Cocktail Bar - 1302 1st Street SW 403.246.2414
Love Proof! From the owners of Vine Arts comes Proof, a place for cocktails and curiosities for the connoisseur and great wine list in a fabulous space. They also offer a small food menu to go along with all those doubles... ;)
Cannibale 813 1st Avenue SE 403.454.5808
Barber shop slash neighbourhood watering hole featuring fine cocktails and spirits.
Pigeonhole - 306 17th Avenue SW 403.452.4694
Fabulous new addition to the Model Milk family of restaurants, along with Model Citizen. Small plates bursting with innovative flavors accompanied by a stellar wine list will be making a lot of people happy. A few of my favorites include the BC Halibut Ceviche with avocado, black currant, crudites, Tuna Crudo with whipped yogurt, cucumber, verbena, and the Halloumi Cheese with pickled celery, pistachio and olive. Food, wine, service are all spot on, not to mention a very chic and cool space designed by the talented team at RAD Architecture.
Suzette Brittany Bistro 2210 4th Street SW 403.802.0036
Fun new french bistro from the owners of Cassis, Suzette brings all the French classics from Brittany, to Calgary. Buckwheat galettes, Chèvre chaud, moules frites, and along with a selection of pastas and other mains make up this simple yet delicious menu. And of course the sweet crêpes! Leave room for a classic like the caramel beurre salé or go all the way with the Normande - carmalized apple, flambée with Calvados and vanilla ice cream. Wash it all down with some real French cider. Yer'mat!
Natives Tongues Taqueria 235 12th Street SW 403.975.0243
Natives Tongues Taqueria is finally open and I couldn't be more excited for the team. Chef Cody Willis along with restaurateurs Jayme MacFayden and Kelly Black of BMex Group (Una and Ox & Angela) have made the foray into authentic Mexican cuisine and are doing an incredible job. The food is crazy good and the vibe is young and hip, reminiscent to me of some of my favourite Mexican spots in LA. Favorites include the frijoles and carnita tacos and tuna ceviche tostada. Try it with a mezcal margarita and you'll be hooked.
The Nash 925 11th Street SW 403.984.3365
Beautiful space. Still have yet to experience.
The Beltliner 243 12th Avenue SW 587.955.1555
Great spot for breakfast post big night out. Modern diner with quality food.
Charbar 618 Confluence Way SE 403.452.3115
Part of the Simmons building restoration, comes this beautiful new restaurant from the owners of the very successful Charcut. Charbar is inspired by Argentinean and Latin American flavors and offers a stunning view of the Bow River from their rooftop patio. Table side ceviche served in beautiful Caribbean blue Le Creuset stoneware, or the aged strip loin from the imported Grillworks grill.
SHOPPING & WELLNESS
Modern Duke Home Decor 808 16 Avenue SW Mount Royal Village 403.283.3598
Modern Duke is a high end home decor boutique that reminds me of a shop in Paris or London. Never before has Calgary had such an availability to luxurious brands like it does today. Collections from Aerin Lauder, Kelly Wearstler, and local designer Amanda Hamilton. Other standout brands include: Cire Trudron, Santa Maria Novella, Carolina Bucci, and Astier de Villatte.
Esmé Beauty Bar 825 17th Avenue SW 403.264.5355
Esmé is an all-natural beauty bar which also doubles as a flower shop. Idyllic setting.
The Livery Shop 1130 10th Avenue SE 403.453.7711
Danielle's Consignment Boutique 908 17th Avenue SW (in the Devinish bldg, 2nd level) 403.244.4472
Luke's Drugmart 112 4th Street NE 403.266.4142
Luke's is the perfect neighborhood general store. From delicious coffee to vinyl records, home goods and decor to organic toothpaste, you can buy almost anything here.
Fresh Laundry 1216 9th Avenue SE
Fresh, clean, and everything in between. This concept shop is dedicated to beautiful and unique bath/body, linen, scents and design objects with a focus on organic compounds and ethically sourced ingredients. Look forward to checking it out!
Junction 9 Yoga & Pilates 919 9th Avenue SE 403.474.9118
One of the only places to offer "rooftop yoga" in the warmer months. Junction 9 looks like a great space and offers many different kinds of classes. They also have a coffee and juice bar serviced by Phil & Sebastian and Cru Juice.
Touted as the best selection of high quality spices in Canada, this is the place to buy your spices in Calgary. A total experience for the senses.
MUSEUMS / ART GALLERIES
Newzones Gallery 730 11th Avenue SW 403.266.1972
Masters Gallery 2115 4 Street SW
Paul Kuhn Gallery 724 11th Avenue SW 403.263.1162
Call it liquid sunshine. A glass of the chilled stuff just makes me feel good. And isn't the whole point of life to feel good? Rosé is such a happy wine and will take you to far off places if you aren't there already. It's great all year round but especially amazing in the summertime when the sun is shining and you are dining al fresco with friends. Comme la vie est belle!! :)
For optimal selection, you must seek out the experts and head to the wine boutiques. They know what's up and are there to help you so skip the regular liquor store and enjoy a wine buying experience. In Calgary, you can have this at any of the following stores: Vine Arts, Metrovino, Bin 905, Kensington Wine Market, J.Webb, Wine Ink, Vine Styles.
Here are a handful of my (mostly French) favorites to get you through the heat.
Domain Houchart Provençal Rosé $22 Provence, France
Everyone's loves this wine. It comes in a more traditional Provençal rosé bottle and tastes exactly like the south of France en milieu d'été. It has body and character and is still super approachable to the "I don't usually like rosés" palate. But you don't need to worry about that because all your friends like rosé, obviously! Just in case, you can serve anyone this and they will be delighted at their new found love. Bien sûr!
Domaine Montrose Rosé $17 Languedoc-Rousillon, France
Another French favorite of mine. The Montrose is a no brainer and is so affordable you should just buy a case at once. Really, it's just standard awesome pink drink.
Whispering Angel - Chateau d'Esclans $33 Provence, France
Super dry, very elegant and especially great to pair with food. This is more of a "fancy" rosé in my books. Imagine yourself in your luxury brand of your choice sunglasses sitting in a crowded café along La Croissette whilst you gaze at the crystal blue water of the Mediterranean sipping on a perfectly chilled glass of this. AH OUI! Mais c'est vraiment magnifique! :)
Chateau Miraval Rosé $30 Provence, France
Just looking at this bottle will make you want to drink it. I guarantee it. The Miraval is a more complex rosé with a good weight to it. This wine could stand up nicely to a grilled tuna and tomatoes Provençal lunch under the olive trees of the Jolie-Pitt owned property of which it is grown.
Chateau Ollieux Romanis Rosé $22 Corbières, France
Soft and delicate. I love the floral quality of this wine. So great for summer and ideal for a picnic lunch in the park.
Vina Zorzal Garnacha Rosado $19 Bierzo, Spain
First tried this beautiful dark pink pick at Pigeonhole, one of my new favorite restaurants here in Calgary. It's such a fabulous easy drinking no-fuss wine. Completely different from the Provençal style, I associate this more with Spain for obvious reasons. It's exactly what you might be found drinking street side while the sounds of little niños speaking Catalan drone in the distance and whaffs of freshly sliced Iberico fill your senses. There might even be a lonesome street dog that has taken up residence beside your feet. This is where the Zorzal takes me. I hope it does the same for you. If not, try reciting its name over and over to your friends with a Spanish accent and see where the conversation goes. ;)
Raventos i Blanc La Rosa $28 Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, Spain
I am a fan of all of the Raventos wines, especially after going to the vineyard. The family and people that work there are so lovely and genuine and very passionate about what they do. I'll drink to that and I'm sure you will too. La Rosa is a beautifully feminine rosé with lush fruit flavors and excellent balance.
Loimer Rosé $25 Kamptal, Austria
Über dry and grown up. This is rosé for the serious wine drinker, so NO smiling please. ;) A great food rosé as it drinks slightly less like water, as more of the warmer climate ones do (not a bad thing). Loimer is arguably one of the best producers in Austria and this rosé is a prime example of why. Take this to your wine snob friend's house for a summer backyard bbq dinner. Would be lovely paired alongside a bbq'd salmon in honey glaze, chilli prawns, or a sweet ass roast chicken. YUM!
Domaine Maby La Forcadière Tavel Rosé $24 Tavel, France
Tavel is so good. It's a more intensely flavored style of rosé, as evident in it's color and weight on the palate, yet still totally quaff-able sans snacks. I often think of macerated strawberries with hints of thyme and rosemary if that makes sense.. Think of a savory sweet jam. As with most Southern France rosés, this drinks well with goat cheese, figs, tapenades, niçoise salads, etc. When it comes to wine pairing, always think of the food of the region of what you're drinking and go from there. The concept of Terroir works beautifully for pairing your wine and food.
Chante-Cigale L'Apostrophe Rosé $18 Rhône Valley, France
Love this rosé! Traditional Provençal style. Super fruity on the nose and palate, yet still dry and pleasurable to drink without food.
Tombú Prieto Picudo Rosé 2014 $22 Castile and León, Spain
Made entirely with the Prieto Picudo varietal (yes, that's the grape name). This is a fun, fruity, and slightly effervescent wine with nutty undertones, totally unique and different from the others. Would be delicious alongside some tuna stuffed piquillo peppers and grilled squid with olive tapenade.
And of course, while you are drinking rosé, you might want an apropos music selection. Here are a handful of classics to get you seeing through rosé colored glasses:
- Crepuscolo Sul Mare - Piero Umiliani
- Brazil - Django Reinhardt
- The Girl From Ipanema - Stan Getz, João Gilberto, Antõnio Carlos Jobim, Astrud Gilberto
- La Vie en Rose - Louis Armstrong
- 5. Que reste t'il de nos amour - Charles Trenet
- C'est Si Bon - Eartha Kitt
- I Only Have Eyes for You - The Flamingos
- L-O-V-E - Nat King Cole
California has been heavily on my mind these days, even more so than usual. ;) Need to get planning another trip I'd say. In the meantime wanted to share some photos I took last year while I was there for the long weekend in August. It was my friend and I's last night in town and we were feeling sad about our trip coming to an end. On top of that, the typical Cali sunshine was no where to be found. To cheer ourselves up we decided to get a bottle of rosé and take it to the beach. As we made our way from our beach rental to the water's edge the sun decided to peek beneath the clouds and we witnessed one of the most beautiful sunsets. It was the perfect end to our very special weekend.
What a beautiful summer it has been so far. Very a props pros to dedicate a post to natural beauty, I must say. The warm balmy nights and hot and humid days can do wonders for our skin and emotional well-being. It's such a magical time of year and the one where I think most people feel their best. There is an abundance of fruits and vegetables to eat, more chances to enjoy the outdoors, and overall just a lighter feel to everything. Sometimes I think it's a miracle that we actually make it through the winters. ;)
I try my best to purchase all natural and organic beauty products, although I have a few weak spots... Tom Ford ahem... There is so much toxicity whirling around in the cosmetic industry, it can be very hard to avoid, but that said, organic and natural beauty products have come a long way and there are so many great brands to choose from, as long as you know where to look. For further information on cosmetic safety, spend some time on the EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. Here, you can look up many consumer products and see what the health hazard rating is, as well educate yourself on the most hazardous chemicals used in mass produced drugstore brands.
Although there are some pretty good products available in health food stores, I have been most satisfied with the brands available through two Canadian websites; Eco Diva and Fresh Faced. They both offer free shipping over a certain amount and buying through them helps to alleviate some of the exchange and duties that you might pay normally. On both sites you will receive samples with your order and you are also able to purchase samples of specific products that you would like to try before you invest the money. This is how I have been able to accumulate favorites without breaking the bank, or at least not as much. ;) There are so many quality products out there now so it's just a matter of trying a few different ones out and seeing what works for you. If you're having trouble making a decision and want to read more reviews on certain products to decide head over to Spirit Beauty Lounge (U.S. based) which carries more products and lots of reviews. From cleansers to serums, to toothpastes, below are my recommendations, based on what has worked for me.
My absolute favorite brand for skincare has to be May Lindstrom Skin. Her products are über luxurious to use and although they are pricey, I believe they are worth every penny. It may sound silly, but I get so much pleasure out of using these amazing potions of natural ingredients that she creates out of her studio in Los Angeles. I also really like One Love Organics which is slightly more economical, but very high quality, and Tata Harper.. These are all luxurious and high quality brands whose products smell incredible, and will do wonders for your skin. If you're used to buying department store brands, then you can certainly make the switch, these are no more expensive than your high end brands but are a lot more friendly to your body.
The following is a list of my current favorites. I have tried to include the most accurate pricing for Canada, but please do not quote me on these prices as they are indicative of the dollar and the site on which it's sold.
SKINCARE - Cleansers
My ultimate favorite to date in this price range. Great scent and works beautifully with my clairsonic which I use every evening. I also think it is fairly priced and one pump gives you all you need. Works well for makeup remover. Available on both sites.
This is slightly exfoliating, and smells like freshly juiced grapefruits. If it was a little bit less pricey I would buy it more often but is a nice treat once in awhile just to change things up. Good cleanser to bring traveling. Available on Eco Diva.
A great all-purpose face cleanser that I keep in my gym bag. Does the trick and you won't be stressing out if you leave it in the locker room! Available at natural food stores.
Just picked this up the other day at my local health foods store and really like it. Smells good from the pure essential oils and plant extracts of hibiscus and rose.
This is definitely the most fun out of the three. A little more time consuming so best used in the evening. More of a face mask with clay and cinnamon this is a beautiful product and leaves your skin feeling super luxurious and soft. Available on both sites.
A very luxurious way to end your day. As with all of May's products, a little goes a long way. Incredibly sexy scent, loaded with goodness for your skin. A total treat. Available on both sites.
SKINCARE - Serums and Face Moisturizers
Absolutely incredible product, as with all of May's creations, this is pricey but worth it. This youth dew gets its name from 20 different regenerating plant and botanical oils infused with "time-stopping" coenzyme Q10. Such a treat.
Good bang for your buck here. This large bottle lasted me a very long time. Recommended to me byJoy McCarthy of Joyous health this is a no-nonsense serum which works great, although it is definitely not as luxurious to use.
A well priced vitamin C serum that works great. Pure and Simple often has sales and offers a loyalty program which is appealing.
I never used to be one for serums but after using this one I became totally hooked and don't even both with a moisturizer. The vitamin C makes a huge different in the appearance of skin.
Pricey but a little will go a long way. Tulsi, also known as holy basil regulates sebum production without clogging pores, thus encouraging a healthy balance on the skin. Very luxurious to use and I love the scent.
Another vitamin C based serum, I absolutely loved this, but it is expensive so have settled for samples for now.
A very uplifting serum to use every morning. Great scent and extremely moisturizing.
Love this lip balm. It's the only thing that comes close to working as well as my go-to drugstore alternative.
Organic Coconut Oil $13 This is a mainstay product in my bathroom. I use coconut oil with an organic cotton pad to remove eye makeup and this doubles as an eye cream as well. Mix with coffee granules to make an all-body and hand exfoliator and rinse with warm water for amazingly soft hands. Use it for shaving, and for a natural spf. Coconut oil is antibacterial, and just the best all-purpose product ever. I use it as an all body moisturizer after showering in combination with dry body brushing before showering and never have to complain about dry skin. Try it!
Hagina Original Japanol Oil $23 Available in Health Food Stores or online.
This is great for sore muscles and smells amazing, although very strong! It also comes in very handy for the pesky bloating and abdomen cramping that annoys the hell out of me every single month. Also really nice mixed with coconut oil for massage oil around the neck and shoulders.
Super awesome product! Doubles as bubble bath just as good as shower gel. I have tried the other scents as well but just love the tropicalness of the coconut and lemon. Have also used as Shampoo and works great!
Soapwalla Luxurious Body Oil $28 - This is a beautiful body oil that has a beautifully soft intoxicating lemon scent. I use this in place of my standard coconut oil when I am going out for a subtle fragrance and shimmer.
Nuxe Body Oil $30 - Although this is not an organic product it is still a more natural product for a drugstore brand and gives a beautiful shimmer to the skin whiteout being over the top. Use this before you board the yacht in Saint Trop and pair with a gold hardware bikini. You'll be golden, literally. :)
I am obsessed with this product. How could I not be when it is sold on May's site as, "Enviably privileged skin that whispers its sensuality and begs to be touched". I try hard to save it for going out as it's more of a treat, but sometimes it's just too hard to resist. With it's intoxicating scent, you might call this lingerie in a bottle... Especially amazing for summer nights and lubing up your legs after a long winter.
Prtty Peaushun Skin Tight Body Lotion $27 and up
Great body lotion for silky smooth skin. Another must have for summer or vacation. All over subtle shimmer with a cult following.
I use this self-tanner pretty religiously along with coconut oil to imitate a sun-kissed glow year round. In the summer this lotion also helps smooth out any annoying tan lines that will inevitably develop. No gross ingredients and no fake looking orange streaks. Thumbs up. Available on Eco Diva.
Soapwalla Deodorant Cream $19 - Really great deodorant that works great and goes on creamy and smooth. Smells fabulous as well. It is so popular that most times I try to buy it along with my regular purchases it is sold out. So because of this have started making my own deodorant and haven't looked back. Check out my recipe below.
SLT's Homemade Deodorant
Mix the following in a food processor and store in a glass jar. Apply as needed
- 6 Tbsp coconut oil ( I use Maison d'Orphée)
- 1/4 cup baking soda (organic with no aluminum)
- 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
- a few generous drop of essential oil (I love Neal's Yard Remedies Lemon - smells amazing)
You might have to keep this in the fridge in the summer months, and also reapply as needed if it's a hot day!
I have to admit, I still use some more conventional products with my makeup (as long as they are paraben free), but have also tried and enjoyed a lot of natural and organic ones. Here is the run down:
Alima Pure Bronzer - Belize $25
Ilia Beauty - various products
RMS Living Luminizer $38 USD
I am a huge fan of Rose Marie Swift's line. She uses all-natural ingredients and her products do not smell stale or funky like so many other natural and organic make-up lines do. Shipping is $5 to Canada and I haven't had to pay duties on my purchases in the past when ordering directly from the website. This Living Luminizer lasts a long time and is great for helping you look as luminous as you feel. I use it to highlight cheekbones and inner corners of eyes.
RMS Eye Polish $28 USD
Love these eye polish's for their quick and easy application. I have used the Lunar (can also double as a highlighter), Solar, and Karma (great for the smokey eye) colors, but want to try the Seduce and Magnetic. Because these are also coconut oil based they might bleed slightly onto the upper lid before they have dried. Just make sure to check again before you leave the house.
RMS Lip2cheek $36 USD
Great multi-use product offered in a variety of colors.
RMS "Un" cover-up $36 USD
I do not use foundation very often and prefer to just stick with a good concealer under the eyes and bronzer for my day to day makeup routine. This is a fab concealer that does the trick while still blending beautifully into the skin.
My naturopath recommended this line to me and I was quite pleased with this product. I have purchased it online at Pure and Simple, and also at a local store called Cambrian Pharmacy. This is a thicker, cream based concealer that I use on "problem areas" shall they arise. Also works nicely to fill in any scarring if you have any.
Great everyday mascara.
Works the best out of all the ones I have tried at a similar price point. Available at health foods stores.
Another great product at a great price. Available at health foods stores.
Although I am not a fancy shampoo kind of gal, I have tried this one from Rahua and loved it. Amazing scent and works beautifully! Available on both sites.
I haven't yet found a hair spray that works as well as the Bumble and Bumble brand but I have tried this one and would recommend for up-do's. If using for when your hair is down, it can be okay but might need an additional brush through to prevent the straw look...
Overall the ones I've tried I prefer this toothpaste, however it is quite thick and ends up clogging up my drain after lots of use. Just an FYI! :) Available at health food stores.
Available at health food stores.