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Montreal, je t’aime: A Fashionistah’s Shopping Guide

Montreal reminds me of Sam Roberts. He is cute.  He-he-he-hon-hon-hon

Montreal reminds me of Sam Roberts. He is cute. He-he-he-hon-hon-hon

OMD. Oh mon Dieu! That’s OMG en français. This week, I had the good fortune to spend some quality down time in Montreal. I have often travelled to our neighbour to the East for work but as they say, all work and no play makes V a dull girl.  And when I say dull, I really mean crazy but not of the Jack Nicholson-The Shining variety.

I have a love affair with Montreal – its winding outdoor staircases, the romantic cobblestone streets of Vieux-Montreal, the café culture (so mignon) and its culinary delights.  Some of my fondest memories are of visiting my dearest A while she was in university in McGill; we would often go to her favourite haunts and play dress up in vintage stores.

Admire the Montreal street art while you galavant.

Admire the Montreal street art while you galavant.

I found it difficult to find a compilation of some of the best trendy boutiques and vintage shops, so I’ve walked a few thousand steps in my gladiators to bring you my best bets:

  • DadaDo (4292 Boul St. Laurent) – Artist studio meets vintage shop meets boudoir. The entrance greets you with a bargain bin of accessories and books and as you get further in you will find racks of flowy skirts and lacy slip dresses.
Inside the red velvet DadaDo

Inside the red velvet DadaDo

  • Annex Vintage ( 56 St. Viateur Ouest) – A wide selection of wearable vintage and upcycled pieces.  There are also many pieces from local designers.  I was particularly taken with the “Stay Home and Watch Buffy” totebags.
Annex Vintage: I appreciate a well-curated rack of vintage clothing. Le sigh.

Annex Vintage: I appreciate a well-curated rack of vintage clothing. Le sigh.

This pic is all about the conversational wallpaper. Discuss.

This pic is all about the conversational wallpaper. Discuss.

When it comes to vintage currency, your best bets are denim cut-off shorts and re-worked graphic t-shirts. Trust.

When it comes to vintage currency, your best bets are denim cut-off shorts and re-worked graphic t-shirts. Trust.

  • Lo Well (5364 Boul St. Laurent) – Streamlined Scandinavian is the mood with labels Norwegian Wood, Dusen-Dusen, swim from Mimi Hammer and a wide selection of Montreal-made canvas and leather handbags by Rachel F.
Lowell: Makes me want to pack a bag for a vacay. Oh wait, I am on vacay.

Lowell: Makes me want to pack a bag for a vacay. Oh wait, I am on vacay.

Thoughtful and cool displays at LoWell. I appreciate good merchandising that tells a story.

Thoughtful and cool displays at LoWell. I appreciate good merchandising that tells a story.

Accessories by Rachel F. I was taken by the functional styles and heavy hardware on the handbags.

Accessories by Rachel F. I was taken by the functional styles and heavy hardware on the handbags.

  • La (Found)erie (6596 Boul St. Laurent) – I never made it north of the tracks to the up and coming hood of La Patrie but this shop was recently featured in Porter Airlines magazine.
  • Onze - This store has 4 MTL locations and features vintage-inspired romantic girly looks.  They were heavy on chiffon floaty things, nautical, floral apparel and accessories.  Here you will find young contemporary brands such as Mink Pink, Gentle Fawn and Ark & Co.
  • Kitsch n’ Swell (3968 Boul St. Laurent) – A 60’s swingers pad meets hunters lodge and antique shop.  Fashioned in bubble gum pinks, tassled furniture and laden with curios, there is nothing quite like it in Montreal.  A must-see for inspiration.
Kitsch n Swell: A feast for the eyes. Heaven for 60's babes.

Kitsch n Swell: A feast for the eyes. Heaven for 60’s babes.

A parting gift:  One of my fave Sam Roberts songs Bridge to Nowhere & some hottt goss via Lainey Gossip. (ps. I’m sad I’m not going to Smut Soiree this year).  Bonne journée! (good day)

I was walking through Chinatown and there were a bunch of extras in 60's wardrobe. Sad face, I didn't realize JGL was there. Stalker.

I was walking through Chinatown and there were a bunch of extras in 60’s wardrobe. Sad face, I didn’t realize JGL was there. Stalker.


June 22, 2014   No Comments

Got Secrets Can’t Leave Cancun

Say cheese! We totally took this photo inspired by Vogue 1993 Beauty & the Beach. The memories are all flooding back!

I have a slew of friends who are packing their luggage for warmer destinations come mid-December.  There is only one word: jalouse! (that’s jealous in French).

Recently, at our annual fashionistah holiday brunch, we reminisced about our university graduation trip to Cancun. A few years later, older and wiser, I went on a girls vacation with my bestie C.  Before departing for the airport, I told her father not to worry if he saw bloody beaches on the news; it would be the trail of broken hearts we would leave behind.  Can you believe he let her go on vacay with moi? 

Two girls in Mexico?!!  It was a make or break trip for our friendship but somehow we managed to get into heaps of sketchy fun without the drrrrama.  Stuff that brings back fond memories of Mexico:

Tan faster! Australian Gold so you don't blind the locals with your pasty white legs.

Chloe sunglasses with the rhinestone heart detail. I still have mine. Do you have yours?

Dress for that tropical climate in an emerald green TBags Maxi dress. The best air conditionning is 'no pants.'

This Jemma Jube crochet bikini via Vogue Australia reminds of my bestie's from Preloved circa 2001. Cutes.


December 10, 2012   No Comments

Quintessential California

A Perfect Day: Summer & Marissa get their tan and drank on.

OMG, I have been such a baaaaad blogger! Naughtyx3. 

After much cajoling from my loyal fashionistah friends and followers, I have plugged in my laptop to write a fresh post.  It’s a blessing, a Chinese New Year of the Dragon ‘Gung Hay Fat Choy’ kind of miracle that I have a few minutes reprieve to write this.  But it’s far from home that I find myself and inspired to write about where I am – California (insert Phantom Planet).  Sunshine and palm trees, Hollywood vistas and blonde hair.  It’s like a surreal dream or an episode of Access Hollywood.

The East Coast is so vastly different from the West — people are warmer and the vibe is casual.  There are so many great brands borne out of California, from swimwear to apparel.  With so many celebrities and Richie Riches around, there are a ton of contemporary brands that started off on the West Coast to achieve widespread acclaim.  Lovelies, let’s take a look at some Cali brands and trends…

While Juicy Couture is so early 2000's, I love it on babies, especially their bottoms. Any respectable girl would only wear a full tracksuit lounging around the house.

Love me some Ella Moss, especially a chevron maxi dress. Also look for the softest cottons and jersey knits from Michael Stars, Splendid and C&C California. Purrrr!

Teeter tot on the brightest colour block high heels. Enzo Tolten Slingbacks also come in the most delicious turquoise/seafoam green combo.

My butt looks tight in Paige Premium too. Breaking News: the Men in Spain were all about the coral jeans. Give it a year and it will be all the rage amongst the fashionistah adventuress-skinny bitches.


January 30, 2012   No Comments

Living Like A Los Angeleno

Fun factoid: The iconic Hollywood sign was once an advertisement for "Hollywoodland," a real estate development

As a whirlwind living, globe-trotting fashionistah, my passport gets its fair share of stamp abuse from Customs Officers. 

Dramatic re-enactment:  Officer “Do you have anything to declare?” Me “I had fun.” Not True Story. Don’t try this at the airport. 

The sunshine state has its fair share of shoreline beauty but the glam factor is much like a Hollywood backdrop: airbrushed, re-touched and made for television.  For those who have high expectations of LA because of an unhealthy diet of non-reality programming, you my friend, may be a smidge disappointed.  When it comes to truly enjoying a trip, my friends often seek my advice and I theirs.  Here’s the real deal on California dreaming…

  • Baby Do You Like My Ride?  Conquer your fear of the freeway and perhaps rent a behemoth SUV (Cadillac Escalade anyone?).  Los Angeles wasn’t made for passengers, pedestrians or taxicabs.  You will see most of the city by renting a vehicle and driving through the many boroughs.  It will be just like that time Di got on the Freeway in Clueless.  The most important thing to remember is that Downtown LA is sketch but neighbourhoods get progressively tony as you move westward – Hollywood, West Hollywood, to Beverly Hills and the coastal towns of Santa Monica and Malibu.

"But this is an Alaia??!!" If you drive, stay alive...and don't wreck your dress. Make sure you don't stop in shady neighbourhoods at night.

  • Rush, Rush – That’s the sound of my heart bursting out of my chest as I hiked up the Hollywood Hills…or the name of a Paula Abdul song and video starring Keanu Reeves.  Park your car at the foothills of Griffith Park and walk your way to the top.  You might catch a glimpse of an off-duty starlet working on her fitness but you will certainly be rewarded with panoramic vistas of the Los Angeles skyline.  You can also take a break by visiting Grifith Park Observatory, unleashing your inner astronomy nerd.  Who doesn’t love a good Planetarium??

Griffith Park Observatory also has a water fountain in case you're parched from your hike.

  • Shop ‘Til You Drop – Any true fashionistah knows you never pay retail.  “Bahh!”  Adjacent to the Beverly Center is Nordstrom Rack (perhaps one of the best I have EVER been to).  My friend J’s hair got progressively wild as she desceded into her shopping shame spiral.  The greatest scores are for designer jeans and contemporary LA-based labels.  For those stalking the Zoe (as in Rachel Zoe) or you’ve got cash-money to burn, you can try the designer vintage emporium Decades on Melrose.

West Coast Style: Channel Lauren Conrad or Whitney Port. California girls like a mix of boho and casual dressy.

  • Eat Then Exercise – While it sounds as though, you may want to go easy on the carbs, the culinary delights in LA abound.  Try the Farmer’s Market at 3rd & Fairfax, a maze of local and gourmet food stands adjacent to the outdoor shopping complex The Grove.  To cool down in the heat, stop for a self-serve fro-yo and top it off with delicious toppings (cheesecake bits, fresh fruit, candies galore) at Yogurtland.  Nosh on brunch and rub shoulders with LA hipsters and undercover A-listers in West Hollywood at Taste, Toast or Joan’s.

Meet me at 3rd & Fairfaix: Get your savoury & sweet on at The French Crepe Company.


November 13, 2011   No Comments

A T&G (tanned & gorgeous) Homecoming

Last month, after a prolonged period of all work, minimal play, I decided to throw caution to the wind and book a plane ticket.  One week, I was here, the next week, I was off.  Seems impulsive, non?  But I am young and free…at least in my heart.  Eager for adventure and inspiration, I travelled armed with my sketchbook and just the right 2B pencil.  After an extended sabbatical galavanting through parts of Europe, I finally returned home. 

What I experienced was the high of travel – sampling local cuisine, strolling zig-zag pathways through cobbled boroughs, soaking in the history of ancient buildings, immersing myself in the arts, watching dance performances and meeting fellow travellers.  For me, there is no greater luxury than taking a timeout to travel.  It expands our global perspective, awakens our senses and teaches us to appreciate our blessings.  For me, my innate cultural curiosity is an itch that needs to be scratched on a yearly basis. 

In my next few posts, I hope to share some of the excitement of my trip – from the heat and grandeur of the Feria de Abril in Seville, to the opulence of the Alhambra in Granada.  My journey took me to tiny hilltop towns in Andalucia and the cosmopolitan city streets of London and Copenhagen.  From international fashions to hidden gems and experiences not to be missed, I will give you insights to fashionistah travel without smashing your piggy bank (aka shoe fund).  In telling my fanciful tales, I hope to ignite your dreams of white beaches, cerulean seas and destinations off the beaten track.

Travel, especially when it is outside of your comfort zone is not always easy.  But let me just say, that I asked the universe to support me on my trip.  Whenever I needed aid lugging my suitcase up a flight of stairs (because there is nary an elevator in Europe), a kind stranger appeared to offer their assistance.  More on that later dearies. 

Stay tuned… xo The LC

Feel free to shout Ole at any time: Daria works her T&G on the cover of ELLE Spain May 2011


June 10, 2011   No Comments

Adornment Chola-Style

Gwen's nod to Chola's of SoCal (Southern Cali (fornia)): "Shhhh, or i'm gonna pop you bi-atch." Love the use of double short form/acronym/bracket.

The other day as I was getting my long overdue pedi, I came across some ridiculously fun samples of nail art.  While the girl in the adjacent massage chair had requested the embellishment of her big toes with a crazytown pattern, I had a momentary tinge of ‘should I?‘  An internal debate raged on in my head (felt like an eternity, lasted only 30 seconds);  I ended up deferring this time around.  My resolution being that next time I have a party/social, I would choose something wild for my finger nails as a ‘conversation piece.’ Plus, who the heck’s gonna look at my toes?  Maybe the one closet foot fetishist in the room.  Dramatization:  I point at random things and hold my champagne flute at eye-level.  “Oh my nails are inspired by Modgliani’s Reclining Nude and I decided to go tribal ikat with my pinky fingers.”

The song that best matches these fingers is Notorious B.I.G.'s Hypnotize.

There’s a quality about Nail Art that is kind of borderline tacky-gangstah.  I won’t lie.  I kind of love it.  It reminds me of Chola style and hip hop.  What is a Chola, you ask?  I kid you not, an excerpt from The Urban Dictionary:  “Hardcore latina gangbangers. They usually have thin, arched, angry looking tattooed-on or penciled-on eyebrows, brown or dark red lip liner, ‘Monroe’, eyebrow and nose piercings, tats, Converse or Nikes, flannel shirts, lots of gold jewlrey (with their name and crosses), crunchy gelled or moussed hair either down or gelled in a high perfect ponytail either straight back or gelled in a design, and they go out with cholos… It is much more common to just look like a chola, and not act like a chola.”  And while I don’t necessarily recommend leaving the house in head-to-toe Chola (unless you want to be the latest Crip or Blood recuit), there are some fun styling homages that I do suggest.

Two-Finger Rings – Of late, there has been a huge influx of two or three finger rings.  I don’t think they are very comfortable but fashion has never been about comfort, has it?  The sensation feels like your fingers are crazy-glued together at the base.  I think the look is reminiscent of knuckle rings, used to pack a powerful punch and kick the crap out of someone in a fight.  These days you can find them emblazoned with your name (a la Carrie Bradshaw nameplate necklace)  or with dainty birds or flowers. 

LC's gold nameplate ring. Don't mess.

Mega-bling Gold – Chunky gold necklaces are pretty major.  I can’t get over the look which has been going strong for a few seasons now.  The necklace can be very street flashy when the gold link has a bit of toughness to it and is oversized almost to the point of parody.  When you wear one, you can refer to yourself as your street cred name.  ie. “Holla!  Miss X-tina in da house, papy cholo.”   

Editor’s Note:  I just read this post again and to answer the question lingering in your mind: “Yes, I am a lil’ bit loco (English translation – crazy) funny.  And I do talk a lot of smack (crazy-talk) in real life.”

Intense! Kenneth Jay Lane gold chunky link necklace.


July 8, 2010   No Comments