Sunday, 13 April 2014

$6 Sherbet Dream

Spring! It is finally here at long last. What better way to celebrate than with the brightest of saturated sherbet pastel dresses? I found this shirt dress for a mere $6 (no joke) at a Decadence on Whyte avenue, sitting on a clearance rack. After some minor alterations such as taking up the hem, I couldn't love this dress more. The double collar, belted waist, cuffed sleeves, keyhole neckline and pleats make me swoon. All I could ask for in a dress! I paired this dress with my Fluevog Laura Evans that I bought for myself in a massive Gravity Pope sale. $280 down to $75... for Fluevogs! My first pair. I'll admit the green tights weren't a great choice, but it's still too chilly to go out with bare legs here in Alberta. 
While the refreshing sunshine and long days have definitely put a little spring in my step (haha!), the weather has also triggered off my snow mould allergies, and this week alone I caught strep throat, which spread to my ear canal, causing an infection. Between antibiotics and Advil to numb my ear ache, my poor liver is about ready to have a melt down. Needless to say, I have not been on top form. Instead of hitting the gym after work, or seeing friends,  I've been too zapped for energy to do anything but sit around and watch Community and read. I am currently on The Golden Compass (Northern Lights in England) and Persuasion by Jane Austen. Loving both! 

These photos were taken last weekend before I got really sick, by Queen Alexandra Elementary School. I love how old and grand even the architecture for a primary school used to be in these parts. My school was just a standard, boring old school. Nothing as fancy as brick and stone carvings. 


In other news,  I'll be seeing the staged version of Mary Poppins this Thursday, and then am headed on a little prairie road trip around Saskatchewan over Easter with the fam jam. I am excited to share that trip - it will involve grand railway hotels and Al Capone!

Thursday, 3 April 2014

WCFW

Yesterday night I put on one of the few pieces of high fashion I own, and headed over to The ArtsBarns for Western Canadian Fashion Week to hang out with my friend Damien and take in some regional fashion talent. A small bi-annual fashion event put on by a handful of fashion savvy Edmontonians, WCFW is gaining more traction every year, with several bigger Canadian designers showing here every season, which is pretty neat. My friend Damien is good friends with the main organizer of Fashion week, a guy named Derek, who is also the designer for Luxx Ready to Wear, so I hung around backstage rather awkwardly while Damien and I had a coffee date in between models getting ready and Damien touching up their make-up. It was really fun! Damien did my make up as well, I felt like a drag queen and loved it! I bet the best part of drag would be the getting ready.
I was pleasantly surprised with the collections I saw yesterday, particularly with a leather designer called Bano eeMee - the craftsmanship of those leather garments definitely impressed.  I wore this Alice and Olivia dress that makes me feel like a witchy Frida Kahlo, and my To and Co heels. I said I'd be living in these shoes and I was right! I got this dress at a consignment store just off Whyte Avenue, and honestly questioned if this dress was a fake at first, but upon some googling, this dress is the real deal - bought for an 8th of the original asking price. Lucky me! I may be a compulsive shopper always on the hunt, but sometimes the pay off is just worth it!
It's always so much fun seeing Damien. He is honestly the wittiest person I know, and every time we hang out it's a bucket of laughs. He's a bitch, and can sometimes rub people the wrong way with his blunt approach to life, but I appreciate that he is always honest. I always know where I stand with him, nothing is sugarcoated, and he gives the BEST advice. From make-up advice to life advice this guy's opinions are always constructive and helpful. 
The ladies of LUXX. Being aboriginal is one of Derek's biggest inspirations, and he tries to include his heritage in all his shows. Most of his models are First Nations - the girl with the yellow belt was even miss Canada! 
One of my only shots taken with my iphone of the runway. 

Fun evening! Glad I went, even with the early morning I had to work the next day. 
Thanks for reading! 


Sunday, 30 March 2014

Why I Love Museums and Think They Are Important

After a truly gorgeous March, with temperatures in the double digits and all the snow practically gone, spring really did feel like it was here to stay. But, being Alberta, we of course got a dump of snow and a cold snap on the first day of Spring. Last Saturday to escape the seemingly endless cold, I visited the Royal Alberta Museum, where I hung out with stuffed animals and geographic formations. 
For those who've followed this blog for a while, or know me in the real world, you'll know that I love museums and galleries. Visiting museums is my favourite travel activity,  I've volunteered at galleries across the country and in the UK, studied art history at university, and obviously hope to pursue a career in the arts as I have blathered on about post after post for the past few years. Visiting museums for me is kind of like going to church or listening to music for other people, a space I frequent to feel centred and inspired, to escape my thoughts for a few hours, to learn, or to just kill an afternoon. Museums encompass the perfect space for both introversion and extroversion. I can be alone and not have to talk to people unless I want to, yet still be in a very public space in the company of others. They are my favourite place to people watch. 

I'll admit that the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) isn't the most exciting museum. It's outdated and aimed more at young children that the vast majority of the public. I am super excited the city has finally broken ground on the new site downtown. In a few years, Edmonton's downtown core is going to be amazing! A new arena and museum next city hall, and my beloved AGA. That said, the old RAM building, with its marble interior painfully 1950s modernist architecture and vast amount of natural light that pours in all over the gallery, does have a special place in my heart. 
Despite the dump of snow we had, I've purposely been wearing the brightest Spring colours. I loved the way this outfit turned out, with my braids I felt like I was channeling my inner Frida Kahlo. I am so happy my hair is long enough to do Heidi braids again! 
The taxidermy and I. 

The state of The Arts in Canada is shabby at best. The federal government is slashing arts funding almost to the point where institutions are on the brink of financial collapse, without realizing the longterm implications these budgetary cuts will have on our community. A shock to me, as the arts are amazing for business, and we have a right-wing government that claims business, the economy, and job creation are at the core of their capitalist ethos. A few years ago, I wrote an extensive research paper on the correlation between cultural capitals and financial capitals. Think about the art capitals of the world, London and New York for example, they are also two of the largest financial sectors in the world. In Flight of the Creative Class: The New Global Competition for Talent economist Richard Florida argues it is cities that foster the arts/creative ventures, also have the stronger economies in the modern age. Name any city with a famous art, music or theatre scene, chances are the local economy is viable for local entrepreneurship as well, such as Portland, Austin, Montreal (not to mention all the other world capitals). Museums serve as a place of immense employment, from curatorial, research and preservation staff, to janitors, security, service and retail staff. Most institutions have educational curriculums, classes, outreach initiatives for low income families, and offer exposure to topics to which people would otherwise have no access. A good museum also draws tourism, which helps the economy both indirectly and directly. Many people visit cities just to see exhibitions and famous museums, bringing business to hotels, restaurants, and airlines. Investing in the arts, much like sports, helps foster civic and even national unity by focusing on and celebrating local talent. Even the new RAM is going to create heaps of employment from construction work, engineers and architects, and all the permanent staff required just for a large scale museum to function. 
These sentiments extend to all facets of the arts, not just visual art. Performing art, fashion, music, culture in general, are huge draws for  travellers and for creating a local economy. It saddens me deeply that arts institutions and festivals consistently need to lean on the corporate sector for funding just to operate, rather than for extra cash to fund initiatives and expand. As I pursue cultural management in the future, I hope to work for the Arts Council of Canada, or for a major patron to help secure funding for the sector of society I have grown up loving,  and that has exposed me to more art, history, and culture than I ever could have possibly imagined. In defence of the arts, always! 

Charmaine xxx

Monday, 24 March 2014

A Baronial Birthday At La Boheme

On Saturday evening, a gaggle of vintage lovin' ladies and two well dressed gents joined  together at the historic La Boheme bed and breakfast in Highlands to celebrate Jill's birthday. La Boheme is 101 years old and a provincial historic site, with a boutique hotel on the top floor, and a French restaurant on the main level. Surprisingly I had never been before, and I'm so glad I finally had an excuse to go. The decor is full of retro charm, the perfect mix of 20s Paris and turn of the century shabby chic. Since staying at the Ace, I've become obsessed with staying at interesting hotels. I definitely want to spend an evening here at La Boheme at some point, as well as the Hotel MacDonald in Edmonton, and the Drake and the Gladstone in Toronto. 

Anyway... back to the birthday! Here are a few snaps from our evening out:

Jill's fabulous outfit! 
My outfit. The theme was Midnight in Paris, and since I am more of a 60s girl than 20s, I opted for stripes and a cloche hat to fit the theme. 
Jill, Chantal and Nicole-A-Go-Go

Seriously fun evening with stellar company! Look at Michael's jodhoppers! I wish I'd taken more photos of the decor, but you know, fun got in the way :).

Charmaine xxx

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Cloud 9 Refinery Party

Every few months, the Art Gallery of Alberta throws a huge theme party called Refinery, based on one of their major visiting exhibitions. It's all glitz and glamour, with DJs, themed art installations, cocktails, and people dressed to the nines. Last month just before my trip to the U.S, I had the pleasure of hitting up Refinery with Jill, where we people watched, took in art, drank wine and laughed about all the things. The theme of Refinery this time around was "Cloud 9" to go hand in hand with a renaissance exhibition entitled Heaven on Earth, as well as Valentine's Day. The suggested dress code mentioned lots of metallics, so I chose this Kate Spade dress I bought on sale a few months ago, but I feel I missed the mark with the theme, as most people were in floaty, angelic attire. I still had a blast and LOVED how seriously some people took dressing up! It really added to the atmosphere of the party. Can't wait for the next refinery in May. 
To and Co, purchased from Gravity Pope on sale for $129 down from $445!! I am such a sucker for Italian and Spanish made shoes. Also, I just started using BB cream, and I am now HOOKED. Foundation, moisturizer and SPF 35 all in one? Yes, please! I've been using one by Smashbox I really like. It's perfect for my dry, dry skin, and provides as much coverage as both foundation and powder. 

Apologies for the dodgy quality of the refinery photos - no SLR with me, just my iphone in low light. 
Busy AGA. 

Me and Lyndal Osborne - an AMAZING exhibition. Osborne is a Edmonton-based Australian visual artist. Her work references both the natural and man-made environment, and the influences of her experiences in Australia and Canada are very apparent in her work, such as the coral and acorn tops. Simple symbols of two places she calls home. 
My friend (and boss!) Lisa and her friends looking babely.


More soon! 

Charmaine x