Eleganza: Italian Fashion at the McCord Museum

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“What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.”

– Miuccia Prada, Spring 2011 Runway Show

Eleganza_01 © Marilyn Aitken, Musée McCord Museum

Eleganza_03 © Marilyn Aitken, Musée McCord Museum

Eleganza_04 © Marilyn Aitken, Musée McCord Museum

Eleganza_05 © Marilyn Aitken, Musée McCord Museum

One of the best things about spring in Montreal is seeing people shed their heavy winter layers and replace them with carefully styled ensembles to show off those pieces that have been hibernating all winter in their closets. Montrealers love to dress up and take pride in their appearance. So there’s no better city to host the exclusive Canadian exhibit of Eleganza: Italian Fashion From 1945 to Today at the McCord Museum. The exhibition, organized by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and presented by Holt Renfrew, presents a beautifully curated portrait of key moments in the rise and evolution of Italian fashion, including the handmade clothing of the sarta, the neighbourhood dressmaker, luxurious Italian couture and the highest quality ready-to-wear.

Eleganza_07 © Marilyn Aitken, Musée McCord Museum

Eleganza_08 © Marilyn Aitken, Musée McCord Museum

Eleganza_09 © Marilyn Aitken, Musée McCord Museum

Eleganza_10 © Marilyn Aitken, Musée McCord Museum

The exhibition, organized chronologically in sections, takes you on a journey through time, starting with The Birth of Italian Fashion, taking you through Hollywood and Celebrity, offering a glimpse into Tailoring, making a stop at Made in Italy and ending with a beautiful finale at the Cult of the Designer. The exhibition includes more than 130 objects from designers like Emilio Pucci, Valentino, Walter Albini, Gianni Versace, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Marni, as well as new faces to keep an eye on.

Fashion Show in Sala Bianca Pitti Palace florence, 1955

Fashion Show in Sala Bianca Pitti Palace florence, 1955

Simonetta

This was one of my favourite exhibitions I’ve seen at the McCord Museum. It was beautifully organized and offered a close and personal look at the craftsmanship, technique and skills that go into creating these elegant pieces. I love that the exhibition included pieces straight from the red carpet, but also images, magazines, photographs and film clips that tied into the theme, to create an overall insightful look at the moment fashion becomes art. If you love fashion, you will love Eleganza.

Eleganza: Italian Fashion From 1945 to Today is open from May 26th to September 25th, 2016 at the McCord Museum.

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The BEST Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins (Seriously!)

These are some of the BEST chocolate chip banana muffins you'll ever try. Low in sugar, few ingredients and so easy to whip up. Can you just eat one?

There’s nothing as comforting as the smell of something baking in the oven, am I right? These past few days have been a little on the cooler side of spring, which has had me craving comfort food. But since I’m working hard on my bikini body (I’m in week 8 of the Kayla Itsines BBG), I’m trying to reduce my sugar intake and make smarter choice when it comes to filling my belly. Especially when it comes to treats. I love my treats and allowing myself some here and there has helped me stay on track so I’ve been experimenting with healthier versions of some of my favourite recipes. Like these chocolate chip banana muffins, which give me the comfort of something from the oven, but are relatively low in sugar and fat, and are high on the flavour scale.

These are some of the BEST chocolate chip banana muffins you'll ever try. Low in sugar, few ingredients and so easy to whip up. Can you just eat one?

Besides the few (not to mention healthy) ingredients you need to make these muffins, they are so quick to whip up! Seriously, they probably take no more than 15 minutes to prepare, then about 25 minutes in the oven. So perfect for when your craving a sweet treat… and also a little dangerous now that I think about it!

These are some of the BEST chocolate chip banana muffins you'll ever try. Low in sugar, few ingredients and so easy to whip up. Can you just eat one?

These muffins are so moist! They are made with Greek yogurt (hello extra protein), olive oil (hey there, healthy fat) and honey instead of sugar. I also used super ripe bananas, which means that I was able to reduce the amount of honey used. A dose of dark chocolate chips add a touch of antioxidants into the mix. And there you have it, the perfect treat! These also freeze easily. Just place them in a sealed bag for a few months, and pop in the microwave for 30-45 seconds when you want a warm treat.

These are some of the BEST chocolate chip banana muffins you'll ever try. Low in sugar, few ingredients and so easy to whip up. Can you just eat one?

These are some of the BEST chocolate chip banana muffins you'll ever try. Low in sugar, few ingredients and so easy to whip up. Can you just eat one?

These are some of the BEST chocolate chip banana muffins you'll ever try. Low in sugar, few ingredients and so easy to whip up. Can you just eat one?

The BEST Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
Recipe adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 very ripe bananas (can also use frozen)
1/4 cup honey (can also use maple syrup)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp olive oil
1 egg
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

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1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a muffin tin with muffin liners. I have fallen in love with parchment muffin liners, which don’t stick at all.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

3. In a blender, add the bananas, honey, vanilla, oil, egg, milk and yogurt, and blend until everything is smooth and creamy.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

5. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin and pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

6. Cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Bon appétit!

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Pretty Summer Feet With The Face Shop

Get your feet summer ready with The Face Shop!

If you’re like me, you’ve been counting down the days until sandal season officially begins. The weather in Montreal has been so bipolar recently that as soon as you think we’ve finally made it, the temperature plunges back down, kind of like Mother Nature is saying “gotcha!” This meteorological practical joke, although annoying, make it the perfect time to get your feet ready for sandal season. Sure you can book a pedi appointment and treat yourself, but I’m here to offer you an alternative that will get you super soft feet without breaking the bank. Introducing The Face Shop Smile Foot Peeling Mask, a.k.a. the easiest and most effective way to get baby soft feet at home.

The product

This foot mask is like nothing I’ve ever tried before. The formula is made with natural plant-derived ingredients to soften skin, while Pine Leaf Extract helps make skin super soft and energized. My feet tend to get ready dry  and cracked during the winter months so I figured they were the perfect pair to test this foot mask out.

The easiest way to get baby soft feet at home, the Smile Peeling Foot Mask by The Face Shop.

The experience

In the box, you get two packets of the foot mask solution and two plastic socks. I slipped on the socks, tore open each packet and poured them into my socks (literally never thought I would write a sentence like that). Then I secured each sock to prevent spills and chilled out for 90 minutes (I wanted to get the full effect, but if you’re pressed for time, you can leave it on for as little as 60 minutes). It’s actually a funny feeling to have your feet soak in plastic socks for so long. It doesn’t have the soothing feeling of a foot bath, it’s more like wearing wet socks for a long time. Needless to say that at the end of 90 minutes, I was happy to take them off, rinse the solution from my feet and pat dry. Instantly, my feet felt refreshed and pampered. Now came the test in patience; in 4 to 6 days, dead skin should begin to peel off naturally and my new baby soft feet would be revealed!

The results

As predicted, 4 days later, the skin on my feet began peeling. My feet were experiencing a renewal that it hasn’t seen since I walked the beaches of Hawaii more than a year ago. I am truly impressed! The only downside to this treatment is that it does take time to see results. Also, while your skin is in the process of shedding dead skin cells, you will most definitely want to wear closed shoes to hide your footsies (trust me on this one). That being said, these #firstworldproblems are most definitely worth putting up with for the results you’ll get. The best part, the Smile Foot Peeling Mask is only $14. Now, time to paint my nails. Which pretty shade should I choose?

Get your feet summer ready with The Face Shop! Beautiful bright nail polish shades perfect for summer.

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Disclaimer: Although these products were provided to me for review, the opinions expressed are completely honest and 100% my own.

13 Chic Ways to Wear a White Button-Down

13 chic ways to wear the classic button-down

{Photo credit Getty/Melodie Jeng}

Now that spring is upon us, I have this undeniable urge to clean outlay closet. I also attribute this newfound desire to clean with this little book I’ve been reading called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (you may have heard of it). Now I’m all about surrounding myself with things that bring me joy and that includes keeping my closet filled with fewer pieces that I absolutely love. This includes the classic white button-down shirt. When it comes to wardrobe staples, one are as versatile as the button-down. Preppy or classic, paired with jeans or a voluminous skirt, worn with sneakers or sky-high heels, there are about a million ways to wear it. But for the sake of this post, I’ve rounded up 13 of my favourite looks starring the classic button down-down.

13 chic ways to wear the classic button-down

{Photo credit theeverygirl.com}

13 chic ways to wear the classic button-down

{Photo credit theeverygirl.com}

13 chic ways to wear the classic button-down

{Photo credit theeverygirl.com}

13 chic ways to wear the classic button-down

{Photo credit luellajune.com}

13 chic ways to wear the classic button-down

{Photo credit Tim Regas, Instagram user @wheresmydriver} 

13 chic ways to wear the classic button-down

{Photo credit Getty/Daniel Zuchnik}

13 chic ways to wear the classic button-down

{Photo credit via Pernille Teisbaek}

13 chic ways to wear the classic button-down

{Photo credit Getty/Kristy Sparow}

13 chic ways to wear the classic button-down

{Photo credit We Wore What}

13 chic ways to wear the classic button-down

{Photo credit Lee Oliviera}

13 chic ways to wear the classic button-down

{Photo credit Wendy’s Look Book}

13 chic ways to wear the classic button-down

{Photo credit Getty/Kirsten Sinclair}

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Pretty In Pink With L’Occitane Peony Perfecting Toner

L'Occitane Pivoine Sublime Perfecting Toner

One of the things I love most about spring is the beautiful colours that pop up all around me. From the lush green leaves and the beautiful bright flower, to the pops of pastels in the shops and the vibrant shades of makeup. L’Occitane is welcoming spring with their new Pivoine Sublime Collection and the latest addition to the collection, the Peony Perfecting Toner. I am a huge fan of L’Occitane’s shea butter hand creams, so I was excited for the chance to try something from their skin care collection.

L'Occitane Pivoine Sublime Perfecting Toner

The last step in the cleaning routine, the Peony Perfecting Toner is alcohol free and leaves skin feeling extra clean and moisturized. The formula is enriched with peony extract to soften, smooth and tone skin texture. One swipe and your skin feels super refreshed. This product is scented though, so if you tend to be sensitive to that kind of thing, make sure to give it a whiff before purchasing. The scent is light and summery, and didn’t bother me at all.

The Pivoine Sublime Perfecting Toner is available online and in all L’Occitane stores for $30 CAD.

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Disclaimer: Although these products were provided to me for review, the opinions expressed are completely honest and 100% my own.