christmas in kensington.

when i moved to calgary one of the first neighbourhoods i visited was kensington. with it’s quirky architecture and unique local shops, it quickly became one of my favourite areas to take up space. plus, you can’t walk four feet without finding a café or bar. on sunday mornings you’ll find me at higher ground with my laptop and a chai latte (they make amazing ones).

needless to say, when they announced christmas in the village i was pretty gleeful.

during the four weekends leading up to christmas, kensington is the place to be for holiday cheer! plenty of places to shop, eat, drink, and be merry while enjoying special festive activities each weekend.


weekend one – festive stampede-style pancake breakfast & tree decorating

november 29
10 a.m.: kensington’s christmas kick-off with hot pancakes, starbucks coffee and good cheer at oak tree tavern. keep warm grooving to the sadlier-brown band.
1-4 p.m.: hay wagon rides & santa will bring good cheer to the streets.
6 p.m.: tree lighting ceremony – don’t forget to bring an ornament to hang.

november 30
12-2 p.m.: santa will bring good cheer to the streets.
1-4 p.m.: hay wagon rides.

weekend two – family fun with petting zoo and special screening of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

december 6
12-2 p.m.: snuggle butterfield acres’ cutest critters – goats, lambs, bunnies and more.
1-2 p.m.: have your picture taken with santa.
2 p.m.: a special screening of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas at the plaza theatre (tickets can be pre-purchased at the naked leaf)

december 7
12-2 p.m.: santa will bring good cheer to the streets.

weekend three – kensington’s christmas shopping extravaganza

december 13
4 p.m.: meet at kensington wine market to sample favourite wines then shop your way through kensington.
stores will be open until 7 p.m. – enjoy a variety of special in-store activities at shops while finding those unique gifts for loved-ones.

december 14
12-2 p.m.: santa will bring good cheer to the streets & listen for carollers singing.

weekend four – a night of fame, fun and film in kensington

december 20
special screening of Love Actually at the plaza theatre
7 p.m.: walk the red carpet in your favourite tacky christmas sweater (& cash bar inside plaza theatre)
7:45 p.m.: awards ceremony
8 p.m.: film (tickets can be pre-purchased at the naked leaf)

december 21
12-2 p.m.: santa will bring good cheer to the streets & listen for carollers singing.


i won’t get into my dislike of the movie Love Actually, because i’m sure i’ll only make enemies, but the red carpet sounds right up my alley. let’s be serious, i just want pancakes, santa and a hay ride. i’m basically a six-year-old.

what are your local holiday plans leading up to christmas/winter holiday with no religious undertones?

Posted in Life | 6 Comments

an A+ rating.

it all started with an email: what is new in your life? i feel like i haven’t talked to you in forever.

sadly, it’s a familiar conversation in the life of the modern lady. Katey and i hadn’t seen each other in a few weeks and there was much needed catch-up time ahead of us.

it’s like the powers from above knew we needed some girl time, too, when i received an invite from Aloft Calgary University to experience their Girls Night Getaway.

we got to experience first-hand the weekend package that includes:

  • one night’s accommodation
  • one spa service per guest (massage, facial, manicure or pedicure)
  • spin & TRX class at spoke(n) studio on-site
  • dinner at swirl indian fusion restaurant on-site
  • signature cocktail at W XYZ® bar
  • live music at W XYZ® bar
  • re:fuel breakfast voucher

aloft hotelsleave it to us to overpack for a one-night stay at a hotel 10 minutes from our apartments.

even though we were so close to home, it felt like a getaway. we had such a warm welcome (literally! it was so nice to escape the extreme cold weather and snow) from the moment we walked in. the desk staff was so friendly and informative and we arrived to the perfect welcome basket!

aloft welcome basket.

it included all the extras we were going to need for the weekend…plus, it’s like they knew one of us had a hangover. vitamin water and chocolate for the win!

let me show you around.

aloft hotel signature beds.

first of all the room was huge! complete with it’s own dance floor area, the room was bright and spacious with high ceilings, extra-large windows.

and can we talk about their signature beds? i know where they got the name “heavenly” from and they’re topped off with plush 300 thread count sheets.

aloft calgary university hotel.

the little touches is what made the room special to me. the pop art of the calgary tower and vintage alarm clock added whimsy to the loft-inspired design.

aloft calgary university.

adjacent to the dance floor was our cute bathroom cubby with Bliss® Spa bath amenities, and a stylish little brunette. (brunette sold separately.)

we got carried exploring the room and before we knew it, it time to get into our slippers and back downstairs to Le Soleil Spa to get pampered; a massage for Katey and a facial for me.


here’s what Katey had to say about the spa:

anyone who welcomes their guests with delicious, fresh cups of tea is doing something right in my books. and that was just the case when Laura and i arrived at the Le Soleil Spa saturday afternoon. they even let us girl chat before our individual sessions got started – it’s like they knew we each had a million things to tell each other. 

le soleil spa.

my RMT was Kat, the spa manager. she was the type of person you knew had lived life to the fullest and she entertained me with stories of her DJing days, her little girl and life in the beauty industry. she clearly knew what she was doing and i left my massage feeling completely relaxed and back to normal (or as normal as you can feel when you sit in front of a computer for 60+ hours a week for work). just when i thought things couldn’t get any better, she offered me a mini facial – bonus! Kat was extremely passionate about the skincare line that they used at the spa and walked me through everything she was using, the benefits of it and what to do/not to do afterwards.

le soleil spa.

thinking that Laura’s treatment was going to be longer than me, she then offered me a quick session in their private steam room. how could I resist? i came out feeling oh so refreshed and completely pampered. it was a great way to kick off our girls weekend! 

le soleil spa.

after heading back to our room to shower and change into real clothes (sweatpants 90% of the weekend was amazing!), we continued our relaxation in the lounge by the fire and at the W XYZ bar while sipping a signature cocktail before dinner.

aloft calgary university.

tucked away on the second level of the hotel is swirl indian fusion restaurant. we split a less traditional starter of calamari before digging into the classics. Katey tried the butter chicken and i opted for the lamb vindaloo. and we each got a side of naan, since the chef was making it fresh that night.

lamb vindaloo.both dishes hit the spot, and we were happy to have two orders of naan because we gobbled it all up.

stuffed from dinner and relaxed from the spa, we made a brief stop by the splash pool before retiring to our sweatpants.

aloft calgary university splash pool.insert photo of me laying in bed, stuffing my face with smartfood and watching the devil’s advocate and sweet november – it was a bit of Keanu weekend! oh wait, i have that photo.

i’d love to tell you all about the spin class, but we slept too late to enjoy it. the beds were just that heavenly, and this girl – who rarely banks 7 hours of sleep a night – slept almost 10 hours. i was sad to miss out on the class, but blissfully relaxed.

aloft re:fuel bar.

our lazy morning included a trip to re:fuel in the lobby to grab some breakfast before spending the last few minutes lounging in bed and watching the express.

spa, movies, junk food and lots of sleep. it really was the perfect staycation. thank you Aloft Calgary University for hosting us for a much needed girls weekend!

if you got to get away for the weekend with one friend who would you pick? what would you do?

Posted in Life | 5 Comments

it must have been fall.

so i know it’s technically still fall for a few more weeks, but with -20 temperatures and snow on the ground, i’m missing real fall.


you know, the scarves and boots for fashion not function style, and leaves crunching under your feet kinda fall?


that was one of the greatest things about our thanksgiving BC road trip. we got to experience full-out fall in all of its glory.

oh, the larches! (okay, as much as i joke, the larches – the bright yellow trees – are rather beautiful).DSC_0795

sister and i explored beacon hill park in victoria on a crisp and beautiful october morning. between checking out the numerous fountains and chasing all the peacocks (seriously, there are peacocks wandering all over the place. tons of them!) i crunched and tossed as many leaves as i possibly could.


when was the last time you had a childlike joyful moment? you should have more…like all the time. go throw some snow, or if you’re lucky enough to still have leaves on the ground, jump into a pile of them.


the day was also perfect for one of those cute fall outfits, complete with muted neutrals to match the sky.

i love vintage, and discovered this cute little shop tucked away on 17th ave between a coffee shop and a poutine restaurant – it’s an indulgent little block.


used house of vintage has everything you’d think of when it comes to old threads, but they also specialize in vintage remakes. this polka dot number is a replica pattern not worn by the people of the past.


dress: used house of vintage| scarf: only | necklace: cinder & sage | midi rings: on the verge | floral ring: old navy | glasses: warby parker

DSC_0776 ducks!

can we go back to real fall now? please?

what do you love most about fall?

photos by allison bridgman.

Posted in style | 5 Comments