Animal prints

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There are some things that never seem to go out of style. American actress, Jean Harlow, wore animal prints in the mid 1930s and they’re still showing up on runways today.

 

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Animal prints are like neutrals with a bolder twist. They are, after all, made up of black, brown, beige, grey, and/or white. They’re seasonless and can be worn with almost anything.

I was walking through Sears in Burnaby, BC’s giant Metrotown mall last week looking for shoe polish for my Dad when I passed a half price sales rack and this leopard print top caught my eye.

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Obviously, it came home with me! The rayon/spandex fabric is soft and comfortable and I love 3/4 length sleeves.

If you’re concerned that an overall animal print might be too much for you, why not try some accessories like those shown here.

Small doses can be just as eye-catching, but less overwhelming. I have a pair of leopard print flats something like these ones on my wish list for fall.

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Dressing up

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One evening while we were in Vancouver this week, we went out for an elegant dinner with my father. We ate at Hart House Restaurant in Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park, just a few minutes from the assisted living facility where my 93-year-old father resides. The restaurant opened in 1988 in the beautiful century old Tudor-style house that was originally home to New Westminster businessman Frederick Hart. We dined in the sunroom overlooking nearby Deer Lake. The food was outstanding and the service warm and friendly.

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I seldom wear dresses, but this was an occasion and setting that seemed to warrant dressing up a bit more than usual.

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This simple dress, consisting of navy lace over a nude underlay, is a couple of years old, but still a favourite and very much on-trend. It’s also a perfect traveler. How well a garment packs in a suitcase is an important consideration for me and this dress is a winner in that department. It takes up very little space, weighs almost nothing and doesn’t wrinkle.

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The colourful totem pole stands outside the building where my father lives.

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Bringing the Beatrice home

In 1984, shortly after my father retired, my parents ordered a Volkswagen Westfalia camper van from the factory in Germany. They traveled from their home in Vancouver, BC to Germany via Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, through China, across the USSR on the Trans Siberian railway, and into Europe! After picking up their brand new van in Germany and outfitting it with dishes, bedding and other basic necessities, they lived in it for a year and a half as they traveled around Europe and the Middle East.

Clearly, I came by my wanderlust honestly!

When Mom and Dad finally decided that it was time to return to Canada, they had the van shipped home to Vancouver. Because they’d owned it for over a year, they were able to bring it into the country duty free.

For almost two decades, the blue camper van traveled through the mountains almost every year bringing Grandma and Grandpa to Alberta to visit their grandchildren. It continued to be their only vehicle until Dad, now 93, finally gave up driving a few years ago. At that point, he passed it on to our niece who was a college student at the time. She drove it until she graduated from college, but once she got a job she bought a little car and the van sat under a tarp in my sister’s backyard in Vegreville for the past two years.

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This summer, our son, who also lives in Vancouver, acquired the van from his cousin. Matt plans to use it as a camping vehicle for his young family. Prior to their visit to Alberta last month, we rented a U-Haul auto hauler and moved it to Sedgewick.

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Matt knew that after sitting unused for so long, the vehicle would need some work to make it roadworthy and he came prepared.

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When he knew that the van was going to be his, he joined TheSamba.com, an online site for Volkswagen owners and checked out other informational sites. In addition to learning important information including the common quirks of the vehicle and where to access parts, he discovered that owners of these vintage vans often give them names in the same manner that boat owners name their crafts. I was touched when he chose to name his Beatrice after my late mother!

Sadly, though he had hoped to drive her home to Vancouver, the Beatrice needed more work than Matt was able to accomplish in the few short days that he was at our place. That’s when Plan B came into being and here we are in Vancouver! We loaded the van onto another auto hauler and pulled her through the mountains. Now she’s tucked into a corner of Matt’s backyard where he can work on her as he has time. This has also afforded us another opportunity to visit Dad before winter sets in as well as a few unexpected days with our grandsons!

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In addition to bringing the Beatrice home to the coast, we brought our 17 foot Coleman canoe for Matt, Robin and the boys to enjoy. It’s an extremely durable, very stable family canoe, but bigger and heavier than Richard and I want to haul around anymore. As I paddled it through some fairly rough ocean waves at Porteau Cove on the Sea to Sky highway yesterday afternoon, I knew my paddling days weren’t over though. A couple of waves crashed over the bow and left me soaking wet, but it was a blast and a lightweight kayak is definitely on my wish list!

Feeling fabulous

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Can a woman have too many cute jackets? I don’t think so when fall is in the air and she can get them for $3.00 apiece at her local thrift store!

My latest acquisition is a variegated grey denim jacket from Denver Hayes, one of Canadian clothing retailer, Mark’s, popular in-house brands. The fabric is soft and the ruffle trim adds a feminine touch.

I wore it on Tuesday when I went to Edmonton for a follow-up appointment with my surgeon, the one who removed a cancerous tumour from my left parotid (salivary) gland during a delicate seven hour operation in May of 2014. (This was my second cancer, completely unrelated to NETS, the incurable cancer that I continue to live with.)

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Here I am feeling fabulous after my appointment, not only because a woman feels good when she knows she looks good, but also because the appointment went so well. Not only is there no sign of recurrence, but even this long after surgery, healing is still taking place. I don’t have to see Dr. Williams again for a whole year!

On this occasion, I wore the jacket with a pair of black jeans, comfortable for the four hour round trip to the city, and a top that I’ve had for several years. I’m also wearing my comfy grey flats with their cushiony memory foam insoles, perfect for a walk through the mall after my appointment.

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If you could choose only one makeup product, what would it be?

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.07.24 PM 3 I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to makeup, but there’s one product I can’t be without. I’m not talking skin care products here, just makeup. I’d go completely makeup free before I’d dream of giving up my skin cleanser, day lotion or night cream, but if I had to choose just one makeup product, it would be mascara. I feel naked without it!

Given my pale complexion, blush or bronzer might be a wiser choice, but I would definitely choose mascara over either one of those. Perhaps that’s because my deep set eyes have been hidden behind glasses for most of my life. A light application on the upper lashes gives them definition and makes me look more awake while still appearing very natural.

cg_clump_crusher_mascara_waterproofI’ve been using Cover Girl’s Clump Crusher Water Resistant Mascara by Lashblast for quite awhile and I find it very satisfactory. It’s reasonably priced and stays on well. I prefer a water resistant mascara over a waterproof one because it’s much easier to remove, but it doesn’t smudge easily and doesn’t run if my eyes water or I shed a few tears. I wear black brown as I find it less harsh and more natural looking than black.

Keep in mind that mascara has the shortest shelf life of all beauty products and should be replaced every two or three months, sooner if it starts to smell. When I open a new mascara, I always use a Sharpie to mark the month on the bottom of the tube so that I remember when it’s time to replace it.

Now it’s your turn. If you could choose only one makeup product, what would it be and why? 

Please note: This is not a paid endorsement.

Hiking Johnson Canyon

I first hiked Johnson Canyon, one of the most popular day hikes in Banff National Park, as a university student in 1974 and I’ve been wanting to do it again ever since. On Sunday, I finally did!

The parking lot was already full by mid morning when we arrived and the trail was packed with tourists. Catwalks affixed to the limestone cliffs make the canyon easily accessible to everyone and the 1.1 km trail to the lower falls involves very little change in elevation.

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At the lower falls, a bridge crosses the creek allowing both an excellent spot from which to view the falls and access to a water-formed tunnel through the rock to a closer viewing platform.

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The crowd thinned out a little as we moved on toward the upper falls, another 1.5 km up the trail. Spectacular views continued to surround us as we followed the crystal clear creek.

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There is significantly more change in elevation on the way to the upper falls and by the time we arrived at the bottom our two little grandsons decided that their legs had hiked far enough. Our son and daughter-in-law took them back to camp while Richard and I pushed on. It was a short climb to the top of the falls where we enjoyed great views of the falls themselves and the deep pool at the bottom.

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Beyond the upper falls, the trail leaves Johnson Canyon behind and climbs another 3.1 km to the Ink Pots, seven cold mineral springs that bubble to the surface forming small pools in an open meadow. These springs are unique in that they have a constant year round temperature of 4ºC and their basins are composed of quicksand.

I had not hiked beyond the upper falls in the past and wasn’t expecting the steep climb that was involved. Once we’d set out, however, I was determined to finish! The trail seemed to go on forever, climbing higher and higher. Younger legs passed us by, but we pushed onward and eventually reached our goal!

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My old knees were a bit achy the next morning, but a soak in Banff’s Upper Hot Springs was all they needed to recuperate!

Chokers are back!

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Last week’s 70s girl post got me thinking about another favourite style from that era that has returned in recent months. Chokers are back! Or did they ever really go away? They were popular in the 70s, again in the 90s, and now they’re being seen yet again.

One of my favourite chokers of the 70s was a cameo on a wide velvet ribbon. Another was a leather cord with wooden beads. Those were pretty typical of the era and looked good with the flowing tops and dresses of the day.

The choker of the 90s often had an edgier, gothic look. I think my daughter was in junior high when she wore one that looked exactly like a shiny black dog collar. I’d post a picture, but I suspect she’d hate me for it!

Today’s chokers are more reminiscent of the 70s. Here are a few examples:

While I’m definitely not a proponent of age related fashion rules, it’s my personal opinion that chokers usually look best on the young. Because the skin on our necks is thinner than elsewhere, it tends to loosen and wrinkle earlier. As a result, our necks may look older than the rest of our bodies. Why draw attention to that?

On the other hand, I recently found this one in my jewelry box and I’ve decided to wear it again. Made of pewter and gold plate, it was a gift from a good friend back in the late 70s. It’s a bit longer than most chokers and it’s shape tends to draw the eye down, away from my 63 year old neck. IMG_20160825_171601778

Do you have any favourite fashions from days gone by? Would you wear them today?

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