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Blog

The Oversized Coat.

Andrea Porritt

With some crazy snowstorms this year and a whole lotta blah weather in between, I'm thinking we should just skip January, February and March and go right into spring! Since I can't really do much skiing this year, with the new babe and all, the only positive thing about this crummy winter weather is getting to hide my postpartum squashy belly with oversized clothing and lots of layers. Ha!

Enter: my new favourite coat!

I was super excited when I heard that Mansur Gavriel was launching coats as well as a beautiful collection of knits this season. I've been a fan of their handbags for a while and am still totally smitten with the red lipstick lined black leather bucket bag Dennis got me last Christmas. 

I had been eyeing their oversized wool coat since they launched their Ready to Wear collection this past fall and when I saw that it had gone on sale on Boxing Day I couldn't resist!

Menswear inspired, this oversized coat takes it's cue from boyfriend jeans with it's boxy silhouette, structured yet slouchy lines, giant pockets and notched lapels. Personally, I love wearing oversized clothes, especially outerwear, and being a tall girl I also love the fact that this coat is long!

I LOVE this coat. And it's designed to go with absolutely everything. Easy, elegant and made from the finest Italian fabrics, this coat sets my heart aflutter in a major way. It completely transforms any outfit, remaining functional and ideal for cozing up during those winter days. This chic and cozy cover-up would also be perfect for those looking to upgrade their airport ensemble. This coat is pretty much sold out, but I've linked some super similar ones below (and most of them are on sale!!!).

Modern Nursery Reveal.

Andrea Porritt

I have been so excited to reveal my nursery and today is the day!! When I first started designing the space one of the main things that I had to focus on was making it gender neutral. Dennis and I decided not to find out the sex of our little babe and I of course wanted to have everything fully set up and ready to go for the big arrival.  The space also needed to be calming for me as I know I'll be spending a LOT of time in there... So I decided on neutral colours and lots natural textures - wood, linen, wool - to tie everything together.

I kept all the furniture in the room neutral so it would all blend nicely and not make the room feel too small. The crib is Babyletto which we purchased from Westcoast Kids in Vancouver and I love the clean lines and stylish design. The glider and dresser are both from Lexi and Lake here in Kelowna. The dresser is definitely my favourite piece in the room, it was also the most spend-y. As a design lover I dread the bright, plastic-y aesthetic of most baby gear, which is why I decided to invest in a forever piece that I know I will love long after the nursery days are over. These beautiful quality pieces helped create a gorgeous framework for me to work with and helped set the tone for the entire room. 

Once I had these main pieces nailed down I started to build the rest of the room around them - rug, drapes, decor, etc. It was a bit challenging as there are so many options to choose from! I wanted it to feel clean and uncluttered, modern but cosy.

I struggled a bit with the rug but eventually settled on this scandinavian inspired wool rug from Ikea. The rug is a creamy light beige, which layers really well with all the other whites happening in the room. I knew that a totally all white rug would be a bit of a problem, but I find this one to be a little more forgiving. I layered it with a faux sheepskin and man is it cosy! My chocolate lab Rypien is especially fond if it!

The window treatments are from Restoration Hardware. I ordered them online and am quite pleased with how they turned out - they're great quality and add a nice amount of softness to the room. I went with the Belgian Heavyweight Textured Linen in Natural. I find that linen in particular has such a beautiful texture and I love the way the fabric drapes and breaks. Although these drapes are lined they aren't blackout, but I did install a roll down blackout blind for the same window. 

I knew I wanted to add a bit of pattern, something really soft and not too busy, but wasn't keen on the idea of wallpaper. So I decided to go with some decals from Urban Walls for a little fun and whimsy. I decided on their irregular shaped dots in light grey and placed them randomly on the wall behind the crib. Unlike wallpaper, these were an installation dream! And they totally made the space feel special without being labour intensive. Just peel and stick! But what I love most about them is that they can easily be removed and won't damage your walls!

And of course no nursery would be complete without a mobile, and this brass moon mobile from Restoration Hardware was such a great addition to the space.

Many of the pieces I bought for the nursery were purchased sight unseen which can be tricky! Not being able to see a product before committing to it can be terrifying. I kept thinking... what if it doesn't go together? What if it doesn't flow? But somehow it all worked out in the end. I was patient with my choices which I think had a lot to do with it. It took me about two months to complete this room - including sourcing all the pieces that I wanted and waiting on products to be shipped. Everything came together slowly and eventually the room came to life. 

This is one lucky little baby. And I'm clearly a very lucky mama who's job it was to design such a special space. This nursery might just be my new favourite room in the house! All the hearts in the world for my little babe.

Modern Nursery Reveal
Modern Nursery.

Pregnancy: What I've Learned.

Andrea Porritt

Hi everyone! Well today marks 39 + 6, and I simply can't believe that we're only one day away from our estimated due date (Saturday, December 16th). ONE MORE DAY PEOPLE!! I'm ready to pop...seriously ready to pop! So today I wanted to share this last round of bump photos and some final thoughts on my pregnancy. Being so close to the finish line, I've been feeling a lot of mixed emotions lately. I've also been trying to get as much rest as possible, soak up this last stretch of freedom, and try to wrap my head around the fact that I'm going to be a mom VERY soon. Yikes!

I've certainly learned a lot over the last 9 months, about babies, pregnancy, and coping with all the changes it brings to my body. It's been quite the journey.

As many of you know already I've never really loved being pregnant. It sort of feels like a lifetime. Let me tell you... it's been a long 9 months. I can't even remember what it feels like to not be pregnant, let alone what my stomach used to look like or how to "suck it in". 

The last two weeks have been especially tough. This period has certainly been the hardest part of my entire pregnancy as I've basically felt like I was born pregnant. I feel HUGE! Maybe this is all part of  Mother Nature's  plan... wait until you're super annoyed and uncomfortable so that you actually start to look forward to labour.

At my 38 week doctor's appointment I was 1 cm dilated but when I went this week there was virtually no change. I've done two membrane sweeps in hopes of moving things along, but it would appear that this babe is unwilling to budge at the moment. I feel like I'm starting to get negative towards this whole waiting game, I'm trying to embrace it and be positive and optimistic but man is it hard! Everything is just so completely out of your control!

And to top it all off I've gained 2.5 pounds in the past week! In terms of my total weight gain it's a bit hard to say as I never weighed myself before I got pregnant - scales do not exist in my house. My first doctor's appointment/weigh-in was at around 3.5 months and since then I've gained a total of 12.5 pounds.

Everything seems pretty squished in there, and I get full really fast so I've been eating lots of small meals throughout the day. I haven't had any major cravings although I have been drinking a LOT of ice water lately! I feel like I'm thirstier than ever! No stretch marks to report, I haven't slept through the night in months and baby kicks are weird!

I really can't complain too much though. Compared to some horror stories I've heard I've had a really easy pregnancy with absolutely no complications. I'm pretty happy that I never had to experience morning sickness, so I feel like I won the lottery in that department! I did experience a little bit of fatigue in my first trimester but nothing major and last week I had to have an ultrasound because I've been measuring small but the results came back normal. 

I also haven't had to buy any maternity clothes which is a major bonus. I'm still wearing all my normal clothes, although I am limited on what I can actually wear so I've been getting creative with some of the pieces I already have in my closet. For instance, the shirt I'm wearing in the pics below is actually a dress! I did a post about it back in the summer that you can see here.

One thing I did love was that I never used my pregnancy as an excuse to be lazy! Being pregnant actually challenged me to continue life as I normally would. Fitness has always been a big part of my life and I've continued to workout 4-5 times per week throughout my entire pregnancy. My goal was to stay as fit as possible so I never tried avoiding my workouts just because I was pregnant. In the end, I believe this helped me experience less aches and pains and has helped keep my energy up! I'm really hoping this will pay off in labour too!

People often ask me if I'm "ready"? On a physical level, yes I'm totally ready, the nursery is pretty much finished, the car seat is locked and loaded, and I've packed "The Bag". But on an emotional level it's a bit of a different story and would have to say no I'm not ready. And that's not because I'm not excited, but simply because I can't even begin to wrap my head around what it's going to be like to have a child and to care for it every single day for the rest of my life. How can you feel ready for that???!!! I'm looking forward to it, but I have to admit that I simply can't fathom what lies ahead for me.

Overall, I'm feeling pretty anxious, nervous and scared. All to be expected before labour and contractions right??? I know my body is built for this and that I can do anything I put my mind to. I know I am strong and capable so I'm trying to keep the positive vibes going and be confident. Really hoping that everything goes smooth with minimal discomfort and ZERO complications. Hoping that this babe comes fast and is healthy, healthy, healthy!

Right... I'm off to have a baby. I'll update as soon as I'm able, but make sure to follow me on Instagram as I'm sure that will be the first place I'll post the news! Wish me luck and I'll see you all on the other side!

outfit details

 Zara Sateen Shirt Dress | Citizens of Humanity Rocket Denim - similar here and here | Marc Fisher Ankle Boots - similar here and here | Chloe Small 'Faye' Bag |

An Overall Update.

Andrea Porritt

Well I'm officially 36 weeks pregnant! Yikes! Only 4 more weeks to go... hopefully!

My growing bump is making a BIG fashion statement and has started to make dressing during my third trimester, well... tricky. I'm trying to go with it but some days I walk into my closet, let out a huge sigh, then turn around and walk out. I've chatted with lots of my girlfriends and other amazing ladies who have kids and I've yet to meet a single one who felt totally gorgeous during her third trimester. Big and uncomfortable? Absolutely. Glamorous and chic? Not so much.

Staying motivated to look cute while being 36 weeks pregnant is starting to become challenging, but I'm determined to stay the course. One of my go-to's has been overalls! I've been wearing them throughout my entire pregnancy and not only are they stylish but also super comfortable and versatile! I wore them a ton with slides during the summer but now that it's fall I've switched to sneakers. My high heel wearing days are pretty much numbered at this point.

The only downside is that they can be a bit tricky to take on and off, especially when it comes to my incessant bathroom visits (frequent urination anyone?!). But at this point they're just too comfortable for that to even matter. I love them too much to care and the roomy waist is a dream come true. Hoping these babies keep me looking and feeling good right up until D-day.

Sweater Dress.

Andrea Porritt

I bought this sweater dress back in September and I've been living in it ever since! I've been transitioning into fall clothing and I love that this sweater dress still fits, even with my growing bump! It has been on heavy rotation lately! I've worn it a ton with knee high boots (so I don't have to wear pants) but also thrown over jeans - definitely one of my fall favourites. 

I haven't had to buy any maternity clothes yet... I've really just been playing around with the things I already have in my closet, trying to get the most from some of my classic looks. I mean just because your pregnant doesn't mean you have to go out and spend a fortune on maternity clothes that you're only going to wear for a few months. A little improvisation goes a long way!

I'm about to hit 34 weeks this Saturday and then the 6 week countdown begins! Everything's been going well and I've been feeling good. My belly is definitely getting bigger and it's starting to get in the way - bending over has started to really suck. I guess I thought my belly would be softer and move with me a little more but man is it HARD! One of my girlfriends told me I have one "really awesome ab" right now. My one-pack is on fire! Ha!

Pink Teddy Coat.

Andrea Porritt

I hate to break it to you guys, but winter is just around the corner..... Which means, it's time to start thinking about coats.

Being 32 weeks pregnant I am all about wearing anything super cozy and snuggly, and this pink teddy coat fits the bill. If you've ever dreamed about wearing your bathrobe all day long get yourself a teddy coat! Named, of course, for its stuffed animal like texture. I bought this coat on sale at the end of last season and was so excited to bust it out this year. 

Being in my third trimester I am all about being comfortable, but I also don't want to compromise my style either. I find that a teddy coat can be a great compromise as they are super cute and cozy but also irreverent and edgy all at the same time.

Finding the perfect teddy bear coat can be a bit tricky. Sometimes a teddy coat can have the perfect shape but a cheap looking/feeling texture, or vice versa - the material and texture is perfect but the shape is awful. But the best thing about teddy coats... They aren't fur!

Outfit details

Aeryne Paris Teddy Coat - similar here and here | Citizens of Humanity Liya Torn Denim | Isabel Marant Leo Eyelet Velvet Flats (currently on sale!!) | Quay Australia 'After Hours' Sunglasses

Nursery Ideas.

Andrea Porritt

I've slowly been working on clearing out the nursery room - it's basically been the junk room since we moved into our house almost two years ago. The original intention was to make this room my office with beautiful built in bookshelves, but all that changed once we found out we were pregnant. So I've spent the last few weeks slowly going through everything, throwing stuff away, shredding old documents and moving things out.

My vision for the nursery is to have it be as uncluttered as possible, which could be challenging since it seems like you need an endless supply of stuff for a baby. I really want to keep things to the basics and only get the things that are absolutely crucial. I haven't really started purchasing yet, but I've slowly been researching and creating a plan so that I know everything will work together.

The room isn't huge but it isn't tiny either so I have some flexibility that way, but I definitely don't want to fill it up with stuff just because. Besides the crib, glider/rocker, and dresser I'm also considering a cozy neutral rug and a small floating shelf for toys and books - and that's hopefully it. I think that's pretty standard right? Am I missing anything??

I'm going to hold off on any decor and accessory items until I get the main pieces in place. Again, I'm not planning on going nuts here... Just a few key pieces that will add some texture, tie everything together and make the room pop. I've been eyeing up some baskets for storage, a cool mobile and of course some pretty wall art.

Well, that's really all the updates I have so far, excited to get it started and share it with you guys! For anyone that has done this before - I would love some advice on what I'm missing, what's absolutely necessary, and what I don't need that everyone says I do, etc.

Since we don't know the sex of our little babe I've decided to keep the overall nursery plan and design pretty neutral. Here are some of my favourite neutral nursery ideas...

Here are a few of the actual items I'm considering...

We're Pregnant!!!

Andrea Porritt

Well it's official, Dennis and I are happy to share that we are expecting!

I thought something was up back in March when we were on our ski trip in Austria but it wasn't until a few weeks later when my boobs got mega sore that I thought I should investigate a little further. So I peed on a stick in Ventura, California back in April when we were on our California road trip and sure enough, it was positive. Dennis was super excited and I went into major shock! "WAIT, WHAT?!" "NO!!", I said. "ARE YOU SURE?!" "HOLY SHIT!!"

Although I don't exactly love being pregnant, I have to admit it's been pretty smooth sailing so far - at least in comparison to some of the horror stories I've heard.

The first trimester was pretty breezy -  yay for no morning sickness! I did however find myself crawling into bed at 7:00pm on more than one occasion. And there was one incident with a container of fresh greens and herbs whose aroma instantly triggered my gag reflex in a big way. I never actually threw up but that was the end of salads for a while. 

My second trimester was pretty low key as well. Except for when Dennis came home from work with a cold and gave it to me!! It was basically one of the worst colds I've ever had, compounded by the fact that I couldn't take anything for it. I felt like death for about four days.

I'd say the most annoying symptom I've experienced so far is having to pee ALL THE TIME! I used to be able to sleep through the night no problem, but now I have to get up at least 2-3 times just to pee! I mean seriously?! This little bean must be dancing on my bladder because I feel like I have to pee every 5 minutes. It sucks! The urge never stops! And when I do give in there really isn't much that comes out. It's driving me nuts! Has anyone else had this same experience??

I'm now into my third trimester and everything seems to be business as usual. Besides the frequent urination, I've also started getting a little achy in my lower back and have been woken up in the middle of the night on more than one occasion by a muscle spasm in my right calf. WTF? The last time this happened, it felt like a gun shot! Oh the joys.

Dennis and I have chosen not to find out the gender of our little nugget. Don't get me wrong, there is certainly a part of me that really wants to know, but we're waiting till December 16th for the big reveal. Only 10 more weeks to go!

Calamigos Guest Ranch.

Andrea Porritt

When I asked my bestie Raegan if she would be up for escaping to California for a few days her answer was immediately "YES!" Girls trip here we come!!!

Raegan has been one of "my people" for a long time and we've certainly seen each other through a lot over the years - travel, heartbreaks, laughing till we pee our pants, shopping, babies, breakdowns and endless love.

With four nights at our disposal and her little 8 month old mini me Fletcher in tow we were looking for a no muss no fuss kind of vacay. We wanted to go somewhere where we didn't have to think about drudgery, dishes or deadlines, and simply just indulge in good food, conversation and some much needed R & R.

Whenever we go on trips together we do like to kinda 'do it up'. So we decided to stay at the Calamigos Guest Ranch, which had been on my radar since I stumbled across it on Instagram a few months ago. This rustic yet elegant resort rests on 200 dreamy acres tucked away in the hills above Malibu and includes vineyards, several pool areas, gym and a spa.

We stayed in one of their two bedroom bungalows, which was perfect as we each had our own room with separate private en-suite baths, courtyards and outdoor showers! The king bed was super comfortable and I'm pretty sure I fell asleep every night by 9:00pm.  Except for the last night when I stayed up and watched the Emmys on the giant Smart TV in my room.

Complimentary breakfast was available until 11:00am every morning and featured an ah-mazing breakfast buffet! You name it, they had it - omelette bar, waffles, pastries, fresh fruit and the most delicious avocado toast. We definitely indulged to the fullest!

During our stay we also ate at the property's trendy outdoor restaurant - the Malibu Cafe, did yoga in the vineyards, hung out poolside, and soaked up some of that glorious California sun at the resort's beach club. It was certainly the making of a dreamy girls getaway.

Sateen Shirt Dress.

Andrea Porritt

It's been a less than ideal summer here in the Okanagan, at least in terms of weather. It all started out with a damp, cool and very rainy spring. It rained so much that Okanagan Lake hit its highest level on record, which caused beaches to disappear and houses to fill and flood with water! As the weather heated up things didn't get much better, as we went from floods right into forest fire season. And it has been super smoky here ever since! The Smokanagan!!! The smoke has been so bad that on some occasions you can't even see the other side of the lake, let alone the mountains.

Suffice it to say, I am looking forward to fall! And to kick things off, I'm starting with this awesome Sateen Shirt Dress from Zara. I was all about dresses this summer and I've decided to carry this vibe right on through to fall.

The one thing I love about this shirt dress is its versatility! I've been wearing this dress a fair bit lately and find myself switching up the overall look with shoes and accessories.  I kept this look casual and sleek with a pair of loafer slides (my new favourite shoe for fall) and a shoulder bag. Once the weather starts to get a little cooler I plan on layering this shirt dress over jeans - my answer to fall's chilly-but-not-cold temperatures.

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Off The Shoulder Dress.

Andrea Porritt

When it's blazing hot outside, the last thing you want to be feeling is constrained by your clothes. So to stay cool, I've been taking advantage of some hot weather trends, especially flowy off-the-shoulder pieces like this pretty blue dress. These pieces allow you to show a little skin without revealing too much, they're also sexy, fresh and help even out those pesky tan lines!

I wore this dress to the Kitsch Wine party over the weekend and it did not disappoint. This was my second time attending the event and it's always lots of fun and filled with endless wine to get you in the mood!  

Remember, you always need the right accessories to complete your summer look. Rattan bags, leather slides and gold jewellery do it for me!

Off-the-shoulder dress

Laundry Room Reveal.

Andrea Porritt

It's laundry room reveal day!

It's easy to dismiss a room as a purely functional and utilitarian space and not give it much thought or effort. But whenever we decide to start a new project big or small I flip right into full design/plan/execute mode! And once my mind is set on something, I do whatever it takes to fulfill that vision (within a reasonable budget of course). Thank you Dennis for dealing with my stubbornness. 

Now since this is a laundry room, we needed a place to hang clothes. I wanted something simple that didn't take up too much space so we added a closet rod that extends from the wall all the way over to the cabinets. This has worked out perfectly as it gives us lots of space to hang clothes!

Our laundry room is located on the main floor of our house. It's sandwiched between the kitchen and the garage which means that it also serves as a bit of a mudroom. So it needed to have a closet and lots of storage space. Other must-have features I needed in my laundry room included a deep sink and plenty of counter space for folding clothes.

I intentionally kept everything soft and neutral to create a calming atmosphere while featuring a combination of crisp whites, modern lines and luxe materials that feel on trend yet unique and timeless. I also couldn't resist including some greenery! I mean who doesn't love a cactus and a few orchids!

Laundry Room Reveal.

Laundry Room Details:

White Subway Tile Backsplash - Small's Tile & Flooring

Tile Flooring - Small's Tile & Flooring.

Riobel Faucet - Bath's by Design.

Wall Colour - Benjamin Moore 'White Heron'.

Lew's Hardware Bar Pull Series in Brushed Brass.

Light Fixture - similar here and here

 

Maxi Ruffle Dress.

Andrea Porritt

Even though jeans and denim are my go-to, there's nothing that can compare to a beautiful maxi dress. I am a huge fan of maxi dresses this summer and this one from MISA Los Angeles is no different. Maxi dresses have it all - casually stylish, feminine, comfy and elegant. They're also super versatile and easy to wear, from lounging at the beach to strolling around the farmers markets to date night dinners.

Since there are maxi dresses for just about any occasion and there are so many reasons to wear a pretty dress during the summer, so I added a few other favourites below.

Embroidered.

Andrea Porritt

I just ordered a bunch of new dresses for summer and this little number was the first to arrive! I'm all about easy dresses in the summer time and this one ticks all the boxes. 

The fit is relaxed, effortless and oh so comfortable - the material is super soft and it even has pockets! I was worried that this dress might be a bit sheer since I ordered it online and didn't have a chance to try it on before hand, but it's perfect - no VPLs  (visible panty lines) here!

Embroidery is such a big trend this spring, and I love that we're seeing colourful embroidery on everything from jeans and t-shirts to bags and shoes. Embroidery has been around for a long time, but this year this artful trend is making a serious comeback. Spring is coming up embroidery!

This Free People dress is a perfect example of how embroidery is the perfect mix of feminine and boho, and it comes in four different colours! I paired mine with my favourite flatform espadrille sandals that I bought last year, but this dress would look great with just about anything, from slides to heels. I know I'll be living in this dress all summer!

Embroidered Summer Dress
Embroidered Summer Dress
Embroidered Summer Dress
Embroidered Summer Dress
Embroidered Summer Dress
Embroidered Summer Dress
Embroidered Summer Dress
Embroidered Summer Dress
Emboidered Summer Dress

Ski Trip: Lech, Austria.

Andrea Porritt

Dennis and I have been wanting to do a European ski trip for a while now, but we never quite got around to it during our Canadian ski season because the conditions were always so good.

Since a number of European ski resorts stay open right through spring, we decided to opt for a spring ski break instead. And when it comes to spring skiing in Europe you can't beat Austria! So we packed up our bags and ski gear and headed to Lech, Austria for a week of skiing.

The pretty village of Lech, Austria.

The pretty village of Lech, Austria.

Now skiing in April may be considered low season, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. As long as you choose the right resort, a spring ski break can have some great advantages. My personal favourite being that the warm sunny weather makes for ideal après-ski conditions on the mountain terraces!

The pretty pink facade of the Hotel Gasthof Post, Lech, Austria.

The pretty pink facade of the Hotel Gasthof Post, Lech, Austria.

Three flights and one bus ride later we finally arrived in Lech am Arlberg! This wasn't the easiest alpine resort to get to, but I suppose that's part of its appeal. Sitting in a narrow valley surrounded by mountain rimmed plateaus, Lech is a vision of alpine neatness with its snow covered houses, hotels and a very old church that was built in 1390.

Village wanderings, Lech, Austria.

Village wanderings, Lech, Austria.

Once a humble farming village, Lech has become the winter hideaway of the well-heeled and well-known and combines a beautiful setting with superb skiing. People watching in the main street of Lech was an activity all in itself, as in the thousands of euros in designer clothes that would strut past - some good, and some not so good.

The place to go for custom ski boots and glam gear. Strolz, Lech, Austria.

The place to go for custom ski boots and glam gear. Strolz, Lech, Austria.

Strolling through Strolz, Lech, Austria.

Strolling through Strolz, Lech, Austria.

Chalet chic, Lech, Austria.

Chalet chic, Lech, Austria.

An important tip, regardless of conditions or terrain, don't forget to don your most glamorous ski outfit. I noticed that in Lech, the european ski style race was definitely won by neon ski pants paired with an equally loud jacket. It's all about getting noticed here! This was certainly a contrast to Dennis and I's ski wardrobe - monochromatic with lots of black, grey and white. But when it came to après-ski, the trophy fashion item was without a doubt a massive fur or fuzzy statement coat. From what I could tell, grunge doesn't fit in too well in Lech, but you could try to go it alone.

My kinda place. Balmalp, Lech, Austria.

My kinda place. Balmalp, Lech, Austria.

St. Christof, Austria.

St. Christof, Austria.

Hotel Gasthof Post, Lech, Austria.

Hotel Gasthof Post, Lech, Austria.

Now, Lech is not the place to go if you want an extreme après-ski experience. St. Anton has plenty to offer in that department! Lech is a very traditional Austrian ski resort with traditional Austrian culture, and thus they're approach to partying is more refined. That isn't to say it's staid, there is always a lively atmosphere, but Lech is not, at heart, a hard core party town.

Auf dem berg (At the mountain).

Auf dem berg (At the mountain).

Yummy lunch. Schneggarei, Lech, Austria.

Yummy lunch. Schneggarei, Lech, Austria.

The outdoor pool at the Hotel Gasthof Post, Lech, Austria.

The outdoor pool at the Hotel Gasthof Post, Lech, Austria.

Austria is a German-speaking country, and needless to say, Dennis and I's ability to grasp the der-die-das of it all was pretty much non-existent. Thankfully, this wasn't a problem in Lech, as most people spoke some degree of English. So long as we knew how to order a bier and a wiener schnitzel, and say danke, then we were fine.

Lech, Austria.
Lech, Austria
Hotel Gasthof Post, Lech, Austria.

STAY.

Hotel Sandhof

We stayed at this hotel based on recommendations from a few members of my family who stay here every year for their ski holiday. However, our initial impressions were somewhat underwhelming.

Since we were staying here for a week, we decided to book a junior suite to ensure maximum comfort and plenty of room for all our gear. Unfortunately, the room was much smaller than what we had expected and was definitely NOT a suite! I would say it was more akin to a standard room at an average hotel back home. I will forever be amazed at the value for money of hotels here in North America versus those in Europe.

On a more positive note, the location of the hotel was great, right in the centre of town and just a few steps away from the ski lifts. This is a family run hotel and the hotel owner, Martin, was great - welcoming, friendly and very helpful - I had asked him if he could give me a few recommendations on some fabulous Austrian wines to take home, and he kindly obliged - recommending some of the finest wines from Austria!

When we booked this hotel, we decided to spring for the half-board option which included an extensive breakfast buffet and a 5-course dinner with salad bar and cheese board for the duration of our stay at the Sandhof. The food was traditional but good, and we got to sample all the classics - Semmelknödel (dumplings), Fritattensuppe (sliced pancake soup), Weiner Schnitzel (no explanation needed), Tafelspitz (boiled beef) - I left this to Dennis - and last but certainly not least, and my personal favourite, Spätzle (Austria's answer to mac & cheese). There was also a fondue dinner and an Austrian evening with live traditional music.

The staff were nice, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that they were overtly friendly. And we did notice that there seemed to be varying levels of service depending on whether you were a first timer to the hotel or a repeat visitor. In my opinion, none of this should really matter and everyone should receive the same level of service and attention regardless of familiarity. 

Hotel Sandhof, Lech, Austria.

EAT.

Balmalp

This place has got it all... Great food, superb design - a mix of traditional alpine style and sleek modern lines - and an atmosphere you would normally find at a beach club. We ate here twice for lunch and the food was always yummy - I loved the pizza and the Asian stir-fried dishes. The ambiance was buzzy, the music was super cool and the outdoor terrace and bar have fantastic panoramic views across the valley. This is the place to go for a sunny lunch with glorious views!

Lunch with a view at Balmalp, Lech, Austria.

Lunch with a view at Balmalp, Lech, Austria.

The outdoor bar at Balmalp, Lech, Austria.

The outdoor bar at Balmalp, Lech, Austria.

The outdoor sun terrace at Balmalp, Lech, Austria.

The outdoor sun terrace at Balmalp, Lech, Austria.

Rud-Alpe

One of the best mountain restaurants in Lech, Rude-Alpe boasts traditional wood panelled dining rooms and a lovely sun terrace with great views overlooking the village of Lech. The food was hearty and consisted of local specialties and traditional Austrian cuisine. The service here was by far the best out of all the mountain restaurants we visited in Lech - fast, attentive and friendly!

Rud-Alpe, Lech, Austria.

Rud-Alpe, Lech, Austria.

Cozy interiors, Rud-Alpe, Lech, Austria.

Cozy interiors, Rud-Alpe, Lech, Austria.

Rud-Alpe, Lech, Austria.

Rud-Alpe, Lech, Austria.

Hospiz Alm

No trip to Lech would be complete without a gastronomic pilgrimage to St. Christof to dine at the Hospiz Alm. We stopped in here for lunch and although the food was good, the wine was by far the highlight! If you're a wine aficionado like me try and get a quick tour of their bomb shelter cellar - it's one of the best stocked cellars in the area! From the classic decor to the red and white tablecloths and lederhosen clad waiters this place has bags of traditional character. And in case you need anymore convincing, there's also a slide alongside the stairs down to the bathrooms to assist inebriated and overfed patrons! What more could you ask for!

Hospiz Alm, St. Christof, Austria.

Hospiz Alm, St. Christof, Austria.

Dennis with the wine list at Hospiz Alm, St. Christof, Austria.

Dennis with the wine list at Hospiz Alm, St. Christof, Austria.

Ice Bar, Hotel Krone

Located at the bottom of the piste, right in the heart of Lech, this popular outdoor bar (with heaters) is predestined for a bit of après-ski people watching. Now in order to après in style you'll want to skip the hot toddy and opt for a glass of rosé champagne instead while you watch skiers finish their last runs of the day. It's the perfect place to sit back, relax, and soak in the majestic mountain peaks while you let your eyes wander.


EXPLORE.

The Arlberg region consists of eight linked ski areas - Lech, Zug, Warth, Zurs, Stuben, St. Anton, St. Christof and Sonnenkopf. A lift pass to Lech will get you access to the entire Arlberg region, including Zurs, Stuben and St Anton. In all, the pass covers 305 km of slopes and 87 state-of-the-art chair lifts and cable ways.

Lech, Austria

The lift system is incredibly well planned as it allows you to ski continuously to any of the eight linked ski districts and villages. The infrastructure of the lifts themselves was also quite impressive with fancy high speed chairs, perspex covers for extra warmth and protection, as well as padded and heated seats!

Lech, Austria
Lech, Austria
Lech, Austria

The skiing and snowboarding terrain at Lech and the associated resorts consisted mainly of open mellow interlinked pistes that were mostly suited to intermediates. There was certainly some great off-piste terrain in Lech, however most of the really challenging stuff was in St.Anton. But since few advanced skiers venture over to Lech the upside for us was that the off-piste areas didn't get tracked out as quickly and we managed to score a few great powder finds.

One thing that is definitely different when it comes to skiing in Europe versus Canada is that the mountains are virtually devoid of trees! This has the advantage of being able to access more terrain, but it also comes with the disadvantage of poor visibility on bad weather days. 

Lech, Austria

It wasn't exactly a great season when we visited, and the snow conditions were far from ideal. The south-facing slopes got pretty slushy by the afternoons, but some of the north-facing slopes held their conditions well and made for some enjoyable off-piste riding.

Most of the time we would go on little ski tours and move from one drinking and dining establishment to the next. And if the weather was nice, we'd add some sunbathing to the agenda!

Lech, Austria
Lech, Austria
Lech, Austria.

 

 

Blush Flush.

Andrea Porritt

It's been feeling pleasantly milder as of late, and I've slowly started to shed my oversized knits in favour of something a little more transitional on the outerwear layering front.

Enter, the duster coat, a slouchy longer line version of its close cousin the trench. I came across the Mya coat from Aéryne and although this coat is billed as a trench, it fits quite nicely into my 'duster coat' requirements - lightweight, a relaxed fit, and hits just below the knee. This coat has tricky, trans-seasonal layering on lockdown!

The transition from winter to spring is always so refreshing, and for me, the undeniable colour trend for the season ahead is pink. But not just any pink. Blush pink! This ultra feminine shade looks great on every skin tone, and it's the easiest colour to style with pretty much anything you own.

Dainty Jewelry.

Andrea Porritt

In the past I've been all about big and bold jewelry. My jewelry collection shows that I tend to favour colourful bracelets, cocktail rings and statement necklaces. But recently, I've started to add more delicate pieces into my jewelry rotation. Now don't get me wrong, statement jewelry and oversized pieces absolutely have their place and purpose in every girl's wardrobe, but there's something about delicate and dainty pieces that is truly extra special.

Sometimes the most dainty little pieces can really be all you need to complete your look, and the simplest item is often times the best choice - think classic, elegant and minimal. There are lots of adorable and affordable delicate jewelry options out there to go with all your looks - show off your initials, favourite symbols, cute charms and zodiac signs. 

So how to wear thin jewelry??? You can stack the bracelets and/or rings and layer the necklaces to create a slightly more elevated look. Or keep it super simple with one tiny piece. Diamonds are a girl's best friend, but simple, dainty jewels are an everyday staple. 

Whistler.

Andrea Porritt

Spent a few days away at wonderful Whistler Blackcomb! Nestled in British Columbia's coastal mountains, it's one of the most popular mountain destinations in North America. 

We came prepared for three action packed days of snowboarding, but instead of falling snow we found rain instead :( Despite the less than ideal snow conditions we did manage to get one ski day in, and decided to pack the rest of our trip with a few non-skiing activities and a little exploring.


STAY.

Four Seasons Resort Whistler

We stayed just outside the heart of Whistler Village at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler. Grand in scale, intimate by nature, this lavish hotel epitomizes the mountain spirit. The resort, rests at the base of Blackcomb mountain, with cozy wood interiors, fireplaces, terraces and balconies in every room, this is one of the finest luxury mountain resort hotels in the area.

Dennis and I have stayed at this hotel on three separate occasions - once in the summer and twice in winter - and have always had a wonderful experience. Although this time was a bit different because we decided to bring our dog Rypien! He had such a great time with us in Whistler and was able to stay free of charge! Most hotels charge extra fees for pets which can vary in cost but the Four Seasons charges no additional fee so be sure to bring your furry friend along!

There certainly is no shortage of things to love about this hotel - comfortable rooms with huge bathrooms, an amazing breakfast menu, ski valet, fitness centre, spa and outdoor heated pool and hot tubs.

There really aren't any negatives except for the fact that the hotel doesn't really have any chill space. The bar is good but it gets very busy and noisy. The rooms, although lovely and well appointed, aren't always the best if you want to hang out in a group. Sometimes you just want to relax by a fire in a cozy area. 


EAT.

The Rimrock Cafe

No snow? No problem! Consistently rated one of Whistler’s top restaurants, the Rimrock Cafe exudes that appealing rustic elegance. This cozy cafe was the perfect ambiance in which to partake in the delectable menu which stars fresh seafood and wild game. Wine is also taken seriously, but there’s nothing pretentious about the 300-plus-label wine list or those selecting and serving the wines.

Araxi

One of BC’s most celebrated chefs, James Walt, helms the kitchen at Araxi, which is arguably the most recognized fine dining restaurants in Whistler and certainly one of my favourites. We started out with half a dozen fresh oysters and a couple ice cold vodka martinis. We then preceded to enter the realm of such contemporary fare as hamachi sashimi, dungeness crab sushi roll and beef tenderloin steak. The wine list is to die for and consists of over 11,000 bottles of wine and over 1,000 different labels, this restaurant is a wine lovers dream!  This is a dressy spot by Whistler standards, which means you’ll look fine in nice jeans and a collard shirt, but the gracious service and snazzy digs remind you that you’re someplace special.

Alta Bistro

Hip and intimate Alta Bistro sources from local area farmers and ranches. The menu here is small but everything we ordered was well prepared with great flavours and excellent service. A well curated drinks menu features local artisan beers and biodynamic wines, largely French :). A top notch gastro-bistro mountain experience.


EXPLORE.

Whistler Blackcomb

Skiing and/or snowboarding is the obvious choice activity when visiting Whistler. February is usually a great time for skiing at most resorts, unfortunately, this was not the case for us. We arrived in Whistler during the middle of a warm weather spell so we decided to only ski one day of our 3-day trip. Thankfully for us we picked the right day, as it started raining the very next day and didn't let up for the remainder of our trip. 

Although it was nice to be out skiing, the snow conditions were less than ideal - think cement, mashed potatoes, sticky, thick, heavy, wet sloppy snow! As anyone who's ever booked a ski holiday before you can only hope and pray that the snow gods will bless you with epic conditions as Mother Nature is impossible to predict. We made the most of it nonetheless and the good news is that if the skiing sucks there are lots of other things to do in Whistler.

Whistler

Scandinave Spa

Of course, we had no shame spending a non-ski day lazing on a massage bed. Although our beautiful hotel boasted a cushy spa of its own, we decided to head a few kilometers north of Whistler Village to the most stunningly situated of the bunch, Scandinave. Located on a spruce-studded hillside, the Scandinave Spa is an open-air compound that is best appreciated on a rainy day or starlit evening. You can book Thai yoga, hot stone, deep tissue and Swedish massages, or soak in the outdoor hot tubs, Finnish sauna, and eucalyptus steam room, set on terraces with outdoor fireplaces and solariums.

Audain Art Museum

A brand new art gallery filled with an extensive collection of First Nations art and one of the best collections of BC artists - Emily Carr, E. J. Hughes, Takao Tanabe, and Bill Reid to name a few. The collection and building were donated by Michael Audain and his wife Yoshiko Karasawa. The building itself is elegant yet retrained and provides a quiet minimal backdrop to the art it houses and the surrounding natural landscape. Nestled amongst the trees at the bottom of Blackcomb mountain, it's an angular dark-metal clad structure raised several meters above the ground (due to a flood plan). The building blends perfectly into the forrest and only one tree had to be removed to build it! This museum is definitely worth a visit when in Whistler! A world worthy collection of irreplaceable historical artifacts.

Living Room Reveal.

Andrea Porritt

I am so excited to be revealing my living room with you!

When I first started designing this room I really wanted it to be a place I wanted to live in - casual and comfy but also refined, chic, stylish and timeless. I wanted a space where I could entertain, edit blog posts, hang out with family and friends and lounge around without having it feel too stuffy or uninviting.

Since our living room is right off our kitchen I decided to use the same colour scheme and play off the colour of our kitchen cabinets. I chose a palette of subdued neutrals and bluey greys with accents of gold and greenery. The space also has a ton of natural light, thanks to our floor to ceiling windows, so I wanted to keep the vibe light and airy. 

The room is a bit of an eclectic collection of furniture, which I like. We bought some new pieces, such as our sofa (which I love!!) but mixed them with some furniture we already had. 

Our living room is still a bit of a work-in-progress, as I'm thinking of adding some floor to ceiling drapes for a bit more texture and maybe a couple of small ottomans or poufs for some extra seating. But overall I'm pretty happy with how it's turned out so far and I love being able to cozy up in this space with my family and friends.

Denim on Denim.

Andrea Porritt

It's a rare day that I'm not wearing denim of some sort. Whether it's a pair of jeans or a denim top or jacket, I usually have at least one piece on. It's just the easiest, most versatile thing you can wear!

Then of course there's those denim-on-denim days. I love pairing different shades of denim together, like white jeans and a blue denim jacket or black jeans and a chambray shirt. It's virtually impossible to go wrong this way. But I definitely avoid wearing a denim outfit that's the same weight and/or wash! As I never want to look too matchy-matchy.

You can even use denim shades to hide or flatter specific body parts. As a general rule, lighter shades of denim draw attention to the body parts they cover, while darker washes create a sliming effect. 

Distressed jeans are my go-to, and this pair of Citizens of Humanity jeans have been my favourite for a while - I even bought them in grey! I paired them with an old denim shirt that I've had for forever, and I wore a little striped tank underneath for a little something extra.

I layered on my Brullon Sweater from Aritzia for some extra warmth because it is winter after all! This sweater is such a great layering piece and I love it's oversized silhouette. I topped everything off with my Marc Fisher booties that I've been rockin' all winter long and the beautifully streamlined Saddle Bag from Cuyana for a little pop of colour.