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Pursebox: How I finally became a “purse” person

September 21, 2014

Ally: For years I struggled to understand why people cared so much about purses. The appeal was lost on me.

As a communications consultant, I usually just shoved my wallet and makeup into my laptop bag and called it a day. I don’t know what changed, maybe being in my mid-thirties or maybe when my husband told me that I needed to “dress more age appropriate”, but I suddenly found myself noticing people’s bags, and realized I was sorely lacking in the department.

I had a few bags that I’ve picked up over the years at thrift stores, and I’ve even gone so far as to “look” at bags when out shopping, but I didn’t really know what I was looking for and felt totally out of my league.

We get tons of emails asking us to review products, or offers to write a “guest blog” on our site. Typically we pass, as we don’t really want to be in the review business, nor do we want our site to be used for sales pitches. Every now and then however, we get an actually credible, well-written, thoughtful pitch and request to review an item. When these rare gems come through our email door, L-a and I basically decide who is going to get the product through the “who reads the email first” process. A while back L-a responded to the O.P.I. new neon line promotion.

So, I took a lot of joy in reading the email from Pursebox before L-a had the chance.

 

So, a little about Pursebox.ca. They currently stock Pursebox and Australia’s Status Anxiety brands, but are planning to expand shortly. You can follow them on Facebook and on Twitter to keep track of this expansion. The company noticed that there was a gap in the Canadian accessories market, and that many were ordering from the States and then paying a ridiculous shipping fee. That’s where they stepped in – to offer affordable, attractive and high-quality bags.

I was sent the Charmed Shoulder Purse in black, which I was told was one of their top sellers. After receiving it, I can see why it’s so popular.

Beyond excited to receive this in the mail!

Beyond excited to receive this in the mail!

The bag is the perfect match go-to, everyday bag, which is really what I need with my lifestyle these days. I need a bag that I can keep on the kitchen mantle, and grab as I run out the door knowing that it will go with absolutely EVERYTHING.

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It was a home-office day that day that I received this, so I decided you would probably not want photos of this paired with my runners leggings. Door knob it is.

Now, it does come with a longer, across-the-shoulder, strap, but the shoulder strap actually works very well. More chic if you will.

003I loved this embelishment on the front, which is funny because as soon as my husband came home (and was actually impressed that I had a grown-up purse). He wondered why I had gotten a bag with decorative nunchucks. He didn’t say this as a bad thing, just all curious-like.

I can say with full confidence that this is not my last encounter with Pursebox.ca. I’m already eyeing the London Satchel in watermelon (WATERMELON YOU GUYS!)…

Right?

Right?

 

I also think the Berlin Moto bag would be the fix I need for carrying around a stack of files and my small laptop to client offices.

 

Should be a travelling consultant standard, I think.

Should be a travelling consultant standard, I think.

I was thrilled to be able to review this purse, and even more excited to learn of Pursebox.ca’s existence! It’s something I know many of our readers would like to know about, and it’s something my husband will be sure to enjoy reading about on future credit card bills.

 

 

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FPQT Big Day Downtown 2014

September 15, 2014

Ally: We’ve been super fortunate to be a part of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission’s “Big Day Downtown” since it’s inception. Need proof?

I never get tired of watching that video. Oh, how I’ve aged.

This year’s twist was that readers had to pick where we would spend our $150 gift card. We love our readers, and for the most part, they really know us. However one dear soul suggested that we should partake in craft beer drinking…

cookiemonsterSource

I’m ignoring all suggestions of craft beer, because, please. No. It will be wine or the hard stuff. – L-a Steelworthy, Big Day Downtown email planning session, August, 2014

Since the two of us hadn’t gotten together in a while, we were hoping for a suggestion of dinner, and bonus points a suggestion for Sushi. We got it! Corinne, a lovely reader, suggested we hit up Dharma Sushi, which is hands-down my favourite sushi spot in Halifax.

Eats.

Ally: Sadly, Dharma Sushi was closed for a private party. Who books an entire restaurant? Selfish jerks. That’s who. We were now totally in the mood for sushi, so we figured we wouldn’t be docked if we chose another sushi place downtown. We walked down to Sushi Shige on Granville, where they serve up the best spicy tuna sushi my face has ever met.

Sushi PizzaIt was so good that I emailed this photo to my husband before I started eating. One of the best parts of leaving the suburbs is sending photo evidence of THE VERY GOOD TIME YOU ARE HAVING to your spouse who is stuck at home folding laundry and putting the kids to bed.

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The tuna literally melts in your mouth. It’s ridiculous. I feel as though this place is a little known gem in the downtown core. It’s got a nice vibe, a hole in the wall ambience where you feel like your gossip won’t be heard by others. Except it kind of was, especially after L-A brought out the F-bomb army during drink #2.

winessss

It’s at this point that I should mention we had to move tables because the delightful server told us our “wine wouldn’t fit” on the table for two.

Wine

 

 

L-A: While I’m always open to trying new things (honestly. And there were some very good downtown dinner suggestions thrown our way), if you say sushi, I say “get it in my face now”. As you know, I’m now part-time in Halifax, which means I’m rarely getting my fill of tasty sushi (KDubs has it’s charms and it’s schnitzel, but it has thus far failed me on the sushi front). The Shige sushi pizza is my favourite. Pair it with a half litre of house wine and bam! Party in my tummy.

party-in-my-tummy-o

 

I also had delicious avocado rolls and miso soup, but the sushi pizza is where it’s at. This place is totally blink and you’ll miss it (seriously. Ally wasn’t kidding about hole in the wall. It’s a door. In a giant wall. Blink and you’ll miss it and you’ll be sad).

Slightly Drunk Shopping.

Ally: After you’ve had a few glasses of wine, you want to go where everybody knows your name. Biscuit General Store is my fave place to shop in all of Halifax, not just downtown. So, when someone who I swear I did not pay off recommended that we spend some coin there, I was all…

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Let me tell you, shopping aftera few drinks is totally liberating, although it brings a few risks. I plucked a pair of plaid pants from the rack and turned to L-A saying, “Tell me not to try these on.” L-A, was all, “YOU NEED TO TRY THOSE ON.”In retrospect, had L-A been sober, I’m not entirely sure she would have had that response.

The result? Yay for drink-ies! Also, the shirt is from Free People. Y’all know how much I love Free People.

outfit2These pants, from See you Monday Los Angeles, were purchased.

We also hit up the shoe section at Biscuit. I feel as though the shoe section at Biscuit doesn’t get the love it deserves. I needed to pair these pants with a great shoe.

blueshoes

I know what you’re thinking:

1. Did she seriously pick out electric blue booties to go with a pair of plaid pants?

2. Did she seriously wear a sequin skirt to her client’s office on a Thursday?

Yes, yes I did. To both.

blueshoes2

L-A also had some luck in the shoe department. Let it be known that L-A and I will never have our friendship end due to a fight over men or shoes.

Big Day Downtown Shoes 2

L-A: Post-BDD shot of my shoes so you can’t see the fat feet I had when we were shopping. Mid-thirties are hard y’all.

They are actually super cute, and would look amazing with skinny jeans. L-A can pull that shit off. What’s that you ask? She didn’t buy any stripes?

laoutfit2Of course she did. I’m not sure how this shirt differs from the one she walked in with, but she assures me they are unique.

I had a gift certificate for Biscuit that my mom had given me for my birthday, so I donated my portion of the shopping funds on our Big Day Downtown card to L-A. This meant we still had a bit of money to spend so we turned our attention to a nightcap.

L-A: That picture doesn’t do the top or me justice. I’m actually surprised I’ve let it see the light of day. It’s bad because (a) Tyra would totally yell at me for my lousy modelling skills (seriously. I can’t pose for shit), (b) my mom would probably tell me to stand up straight, and, (c) let’s be real, because you try taking a good change room photo after wine and sushi. So, here’s a better view of it:

Bonanza by Biscuit Striped top1

Not only is it 75% different from all my other striped tops since I typically opt for a more fitted, classical boat neck style, but it was also Bonanza by Biscuit General Store.

Bonanza by Biscuit Striped top2

I’ve never owned a striped top by a local designer, so totally different than everything else. It looks way better when I pair it with jeans and a jacket. Trust.

Also, I almost didn’t buy the shoes. I was all, “I don’t know. Maybe.” because I’m awful at making decisions (and I was eyeing some cute jewellery). So I can thank Ally that I now have these beauts to wear on a work trip tomorrow.

Big Day Downtown Shoes 1

I have the last size 10, so my apologies to the other big footed ladies of Halifax – there are no more of these cute shoes for you.

The staff at Biscuit were delightfully nice about our drunk shopping at about 15 minutes before closing.

Moar Drinks.

Ally: It was a beautiful night, one of the last patio nights of summer, so we thought The Carleton would be a great choice. At this point in the evening, I can only recall that I ordered “Chardonnay” and “the big size”.

carlton

Those glasses were pretty much filled to the top when we started. It was a great end to a perfect night catching up with one of my best friends. There were a few other couples on the patio, and a live band could be heard from inside. It was quintessential Halifax.

L-A: Did someone suggest The Carleton? It’s possible. I know I did. But at that point in the evening, we forgot to check in on reader suggestions. And since it was actually my 10th wedding anniversary (also spent in downtown Halifax at the Halifax Club. And the Best Lady went shopping downtown in between the ceremony and the reception), I win.

Big Day Downtown wine

The answer to “6 or 9 ounces?” is almost always “9 ounces”.

But seriously, it’s hard to think of a better way to end an evening of dinner, drinks and shopping with one of your oldest friends (who was at my wedding. Her gift included a copy of US Magazine) than on a patio on Argyle street.

Big Day Downtown Biscuit Bag

Other than spending the evening with my husband (who I left in KDubs for the week), a Big Day Downtown is a pretty swell way to spend your anniversary.

Favourite Fridays: Ally becomes a “Runner”

August 29, 2014

Ally: I’ve missed this blog so much, but life got really real this year, and writing for fun had to take a backseat for a while.

That said, I’m really excited that we are broadening our horizons for this site beyond just fashion. As much as we love fashion (and we really do!), as we move into the wrong side of 35, our interests have expanded and I think we have more to offer. I think we’re also learning more about ourselves, our passions and what drives us each day.

Without going into personal details (friend me on Facebook for that!), our family had a bit of a plot twist this year that set us in a new direction. It’s an exciting new path, with lots of opportunities, but it took me a while to see it that way. This new path also comes with greater responsibility and a bit more stress – which, combined with regular life stuff and a busy workload – I’d like to manage better.

Which is why discovering running has been a really great thing for me.

This is currently the image on my desktop.

This is currently the image on my desktop.

I always enjoyed getting out for an hour “power walk” each day (I just said “power walk”!), but one day recently, I just started running. And it was ok. In fact, it was this weird breakthrough where I ran and when I stopped there were tears streaming down my face. I just felt like maybe this is what I needed. This could be my little escape. The piece of the day that I carve out just for me, where I’m alone and I can block out everything with some exquisite shitty music.

Speaking of.

It’s so deliciously awful!

I also got some great advice on making sure to have my sneakers fitted for me. I saw Barry at the Running Room in Bedford and he hooked me up with these fine kicks.

sneakers

I’ve even entered my first race on October 4th! Terrifying!

So there you have it. My first completely inspirational lifestyle post. Not GOOP, but super close.

The Lazy Manicurist: Review of OPI Neons

August 5, 2014
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L-A: When it comes to getting my nails did, I’m the laziest. I used to be pretty good at maintaining my polish during the work week, but now that I’m working from home, I’m pretty sure more than one cashier at the grocery story has judged me for leaving the house with severely chipped polish. I also leave doing my polish to the last minute – like in the cab on the way to get my train to work or in the car on the way to brunch. I also frequently do my nails before bed, which leaves me with an interesting “textured” look from my sheets. Like I said, I’m the laziest (and too cheap to go get them did).

I’m trying a little harder (because I do leave the house more often), but I’m still pretty lazy/laissez-faire about it all. Which is why it’s taken me over a month to review the summeriest of summer polishes: OPI Neons.

FPQT_OPI_Neon

Highlight Reel Review:

Polish Verdict: Like it an awful lot. I still wear the purple on the regular.

Finish: Matte. I totally need a top-coat

Number of Coats: 3 to get the look I like.

Where to get it: We got it from Obsessed Look

(*full disclosure: free for review and I totally got it before Ally could reply. I’d buy it though). 

French Figure Skating Judge Score: 8 (bribes not required)

Full Review: 

As someone who celebrated her pre-teen and early teen years around 1989-1991, neon is both nostalgic summer staple and something I’m terrified of (because just think about what you wore back then and try not to shudder. But let’s take a moment to pour one on the ground for Bop). However, I totally dug these adorable mini-bottles of neons, especially the purple, pink and coral.

FPQT_OPI_Neon2-text

I personally have issues with green and yellow polishes. I like the idea of them and I like them on other people, but I can rarely wear them. I always feel like my nails are turning green and going to fall off. Especially pedicures. Not that this has ever been a problem in my life (knock on wood), it’s just an irrational thing I have about green and yellow polishes. So I really didn’t give them a proper go (although 1989 me is really disappointed that I didn’t pair that green and pink together. 1989 L-A loved that colour combo).

The purple quickly became a lazy manicure staple. It needed about three coats to get to the thickness that I like for my polish (I tend to go for big, bold nail colours like I’m a teen girl on PLL).

FPQT_OPI_Neon-with and without topcoat

Yep. I sucked at applying that polish. This happens 99% of the time when I paint my nails. A q-tip with nail polish remover would just be one step too many.

 

Of note, the polish dries with a matte finish. I think you can see this on the middle finger in the above photo. If matte finish is your jam, then polish and go forth! I didn’t dig it, so I went for top-coat. I like the shine. I also like that top-coat gives me extra days between manicures.

I did attempt nail art. Which was basically a giant fail.

FPQT_OPI_Neon-FailedNailArt2

Pro-tip: if you barely have the patience to do a straight up polish, then you should skip the nail art. This did not stop me from leaving it like that for the week. I liked the colours together, but am not meant for nail art.

OPI-Neons

The coral was a rad colour for a pedicure and looked nice with my bright green flops (which leads me to believe if I had the patience for nail art, I could do green and coral together). (Also, be prepared for a photo of my feet. Don’t scroll down if you don’t like pictures of feet).

FPQT_OPI_Neon_pedicure

If I’m not completely lazy this summer/fall, I might try doing more reviews. But since this is my usual look, we’ll see:

FPQT_OPI_Neon-chips2

Two weeks later, mostly going strong with a few touch ups. #thelaziest

Friday Favourites: August 1st Edition

August 1, 2014
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L-A: You guys, if one of you knew about Boden and hasn’t told me about it, well then we need to talk. Because I literally need this top:

boden-top

 

It’s a striped top with a collar that sparkles. I don’t know what pounds mean in Canadian, but I know I need to come up with 39 of them. Probably more considering I could easily imagine myself wearing 90% of what’s on that site. If a guy can start a kickstarter for potato salad, I can have one for striped shirts – right? (My husband doesn’t seem to understand. He laughed at the use of the word “need”, but let’s be real. I need it).

The other thing I’m loving this week is this jam:
http://www.avclub.com/video/embed?id=10325

 

The song reminds me of being 22 and the amazing summer that it was for teen movies at the Acadia cinema and getting drunk and going to the Axe. Good times. And I just love Tokyo Police Club these days, so this is a big ball of summer awesome for me. (I am bummed to see that TPC will be at Pop Explosion while I’ll be chilling in the KDubs).

I’m also really on board with the fact that I bought one of these bags that everyone has basically had for the past five years.

longchamp-le-pliage-large-tote-bag-profile

 

There are bags I might want more in life (hi Marc Jacobs!), but I got tired of looking like a hobo on all my work trips as I try to carry purse stuff plus my laptop. Carrying 2-3 bags on the train or plane is just too much. Although I’m pretty sure I’ll never see my lip gloss and pens again.

Okay, let’s long wknd everyone!

Long Wknds! (What I’m packing)

June 25, 2014
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L-A: We got an assignment from Stylelist Canada about what we’d pack in our beach bags for the long weekend. I have no idea where to find a beach around these parts and I have no plans other than buying a lot of strawberries and thinking about making jam, drinking gin on the back deck, and maybe a day trip to The Bruce Peninsula (because I find it hilarious that there’s a peninsula named Bruce). Let’s call it staycation weekend. And this is what’s in my bag (minus a notebook and about five different pens. I edited so I appear a bit more like some glamourous lady) – either for exploring or hanging out on my deck and watching the bees.

So here’s what’s in the bag (which is probably why I always carry a large bag):

FPQT-whatsinLAsbag

 

The bag: purchased at Marc by Marc Jacobs a few years ago and my husband really really hates it. It’s a bit too America! for Canada Day, but whatevs. Love it. Illustrated maps are my jam. One day I’ll take it on a road trip in America.

The shoes: two pairs. The April 25th of Shoes (Kate Spade Keds) for more walking and Tkees flip flops. The flops are cute and I love the colour, but I’m not entirely certain they’re worth $50 a pair (I didn’t pay that much, but you know, still).

The scarf and hanky: J.Crew lobster scarf is one of my new favourite things. I’ve used it as scarf and in my hair. The hanky – because pollen (I’m not going to pretend I don’t get summer sniffles for glamour’s sake) – is by Bespoke Uprising Textile Studios (she makes the nicest stuff).

Sunglasses: the Coachella Ray-Bans. Finding those at Coachella still makes me giddy.

Accessories: Breaking out the super nautical Kiel James Patrick rope bracelet for summer and adding a super colourful Kate Spade necklace to the mix. New phone case is Rifle Paper Co and adorable. Plus headphones because I never go strolling without them. Lomo Diana camera so I can maintain some kind of hipster adjacentness. I use it to take really fuzzy, double exposed photos. I like to say they’re artsy, others would disagree and say I’m wasting money on developing film.

Sunscreen: Yes, two kinds. The perils of being super pale. SPF 60 for the face, Kiehl’s SPF 50 (which I spray everywhere, like all over the patio table).

Reads: New Rainbow Rowell!! This one is for grown ups, not YA (although, whatever. YA should read what they like). This one is coming out soon (make friends with librarians, kids! They can hook you up!) and if it’s half as good as Fangirl or Attachments, I’m going to be hooked.

Eats: it’s summer y’all and you know what that means: gin, lemonade, mint and twizzlers. Just the good stuff.

 

Stripes on stripes on stripes

June 17, 2014
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LA: So, I get it. Nautical stripes are a thing we’re all addicted to. But I think I’ve reached maximum stripe you guys. It’s isn’t just the tops anymore. And I’m pushing my matchy-ness into early-Betty Draper coordinates. Get me a pillbox hat y’all, because I’m coordinated like you don’t even know and it is all stripes.

I made a New Year’s resolution to wear other patterns. And I swear I tried to buy others (there is a cute bird print t-shirt in my closet), but the universe makes it hard. Which is why this has happened.

fpqt-toomuchnautical

(Coat: Ann Taylor; Shirt: random Marshall’s find; Necklace: super cute gift from a friend)

Not pictured is the striped headband. Although, in my defense, I did refrain from wearing the striped ballet flats. Because I wouldn’t want to overdo it. But then a few weeks later, I totally overdid it with these beauties.

fpqt-nauticashoes-nautical

 

(Shoes: Nautica, found at Marshall’s; Cat fur, Hastings the cat – this is why Drake brings a roller to games)

While it might be a little too much, I figure I may as well just lean on in to my obsession for as long as I can. Because one day, mark my word, there will be no striped shirts. I know I’ve probably predicted this at least twice before (I have never claimed any psychic powers. Although I really wish I could), but if stripes were a commodity on the stock market (futures? Is that what it’s called? No idea), I’d start to bet against them at some point. Especially since I’ve recently seen some horrendous nautical stripes coming out of Northern Reflections. I mean, sure, a boat neck nautical stripe is all classic and shit, but if you’ve seen photos from the 80s and 90s, then you know there are periods in fashion history where people give zero fucks about what is classic/classy. Until then, I am going Sheryl Sandberg on my love of stripes.

fpqt-katespade-nautical

(bracelets: Kate Spade; Tiffany & Co)

(Did I mention my work notebook is striped as well? Like I said. I’m leaning in).