Wedding dress shopping in New York City

Today I’m taking it back to this time last year for a little throwback post! Time really does fly and it’s hard to believe that last American Thanksgiving weekend my mom and I were in New York City. I didn’t mention it in my NYC post on here (the reason being that I didn’t want to give away any hints to Tim) but the whole POINT of that trip was to look for (and buy!) a wedding dress!

Yes, sometimes in life fairytales do happen. Finding a wedding dress was a task I was not particularly excited about. I had been daydreaming on BHLDN‘s website and had found the perfect gown (the Penelope). Can I just say the increase in the Canadian dollar is cray cray since this time last year? Anyways, knowing it’s not in my personality type to ever just order a wedding dress on a whim without trying it on (because who would ever do that…?), I knew I would never own this dress. Even though it was the only one at BHLDN in my price range. And it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Ever. Sigh. However, the daydreaming continued and I found myself on their ‘make a try-on appointment’ page for their NYC location (my favourite city), only to see that nothing was open. I vented all this to my mom, to which her reply was to just keep checking back. This was in the middle of October but check back I did. Until one day, RANDOMLY, the one time spot on the one ideal day for us to visit NYC for this dress appointment opened up and I booked the time slot, just in case. Seriously, it was the only opening from then until the beginning of February. So, with my mom working for WestJet and everything, I casually told her about the booking and, being the incredible person she is, she decided to use two flight vouchers she had been saving for us to go to NYC for a few days at the end of November. All for this dress. I was flabbergasted and SO happy. So, so happy.

So yes, we ventured all the way to NYC to try on the Penelope gown at BHLDN. Let me tell you, hailing a cab on Fifth Ave on a Saturday night on American Thanksgiving weekend is no easy task. I was nervous, asking the fuzz how to best hitch a taxi (desperate Canadian alert) but, eventually, we got a ride to BHLDN and all was well. When first entering the boutique I was awe-struck. As you can see from these photos, NYC’s BHLDN is a vintage-inspired, classy dream. The stylist I worked with was named Amy, and she was quirky and calming and lovely. It was a bit stressful, having ventured all this way for one dress — if it didn’t go as I envisioned then I felt bad everything would be all for not. But I tried on a couple dresses way out of my price range (as one does in this situation) and eventually slipped on my beloved Penelope gown. And, you guys, it was amazing. Better than I ever anticipated. My mom and I are pretty practical so no tears ala Say Yes to the Dress were shed, but all the feels were going on. All of them. And I was officially in love. THEN Amy slipped the most beautiful headband ever on me, and I was hooked. As cheesy as it is, I believe it was all meant to be. We purchased the gown (which arrived to our house in Calgary nine days after ordering it?!) and headed over to Shake Shack in Grand Central Station for dinner. Dreams happening everywhere, seriously.

The entire experience was so fairytale-like I can’t even explain. NYC as a whole and the BHLDN appointment alone… Words really don’t do it justice. I’m so thankful for my mom being the person she is and wanting to take me all the way to my favourite city to try on the dress of my dreams. It was the only dress I ever considered purchasing and it just worked out so perfectly, it’s hard to believe. This trip will always be special to me because it was to prepare for my wedding while being a girls’ trip with my mom. I get emotional thinking about it one year later, but that’s how you know we did it right:)

Brunchin’ at Corbeaux

Recently we’ve been really into going out to brunch over here! We so hip. Just kidding. Although on Sunday I was having dinner with friends and started talking about brunch places and realized I sounded more “I think I’m so cultured” than most pre-teens on Instagram. Whoops. I really don’t know anything about what makes one restaurant better than another, other than my personal experiences there, but let me tell you that Corbeaux Bakehouse on 17th Ave is SERIOUSLY taking the cake these days.

We headed over to Corbeaux for the first time for brunch a couple weekends ago and it was all kinds of incredible. The decor (hello white brick walls paired with golden lighting), the food (that whipped ricotta tho), the dishes (robin egg blue everything, please)… everything had me smitten. The company wasn’t all that bad either;) I ordered the French toast and Tim had the eggs Benedict and both have us tempted to return again very soon.

The whole point of our day was actually to spend the afternoon at the Millarville Christmas Market. But after reading real-time posts on Facebook of the 45-minute long drive up line people were still waiting in (what is this madness?!) we decided to scratch that and instead head over to the less-exciting Okotoks Christmas Festival. One way or another I was going to a Christmas market that day. Unfortunately the Okotoks market was the definition of uneventful and I kind of wish we would’ve just strolled around 17th Ave for the remainder of the afternoon? You win some (Corbeaux), you lose some (the most boring Christmas market ever). Either way I’m pretty sure Corbeaux will slowly but surely become “our place”; I can’t wait to go back!

Shake it like a Polaroid picture!

At our wedding we decided to include a sort-of photo booth and encouraged our guests to get their picture taken via Polaroid camera, and write on it in place of having a guest book! My cousin did this at her wedding and we totally copied the idea, and it turned out even better than we could’ve expected. I cherish these so much and have resisted the urge to store each one in an air-tight bag (or in a secret safe that we keep behind a painting?) since the wedding. Plus, just looking through any wedding-related photos always gets me a little misty eyed!

For the backdrop we just bought a piece of sparkly fabric and sewed it (thanks, mom) to fit over a skinny rod. We then hung the rod/fabric up by stringing rope through the rod and tying it to some of the scaffolding of the tent we were in. And, voila! A perfect little Polaroid booth. Huge shout out to our friends Colton and Angel for being incredible, and being on photo taking duty all night long. We were so happy they agreed to the job.

Anyhow, here is a curation of our favourites. Enjoy!

^ This will forever be a favourite because at my cousin’s wedding we all took this same photo. This was round two at it! ^

^ This is Lindsay, our wedding’s month-of coordinator, of Lindsay Sue Organization & Events. She was a LIFE SAVER during the end of the wedding planning process and we probably wouldn’t have been married if it weren’t for her. You can read her thoughts on being our coordinator here. ^

^ First dance. Heart eyes everywhere. ^

The hike that almost was

On Halloween Tim and I decided to skip normalcy and instead went on a hike! We drove to Lake Louise to do the hike to Lake Agnes. The teahouse there looks idyllic (based off Pinterest) but it closes right after Canadian Thanksgiving, so we weren’t expecting any tea, just a good view at the end. Before we left I checked ALL the weather websites and apps to make sure it was safe to do the hike, and everywhere told me there was only going be one millimetre of a rain/snow mix, at about -1 degree Celsius at Lake Louise. We pulled out the ol’ Underarmour cold gear and off we went.

HOWEVER, when we got there, there was clearly a tad more than just one millimetre of snow. No rain in sight, just straight up snow. I really love snow (minus driving in it) and was kind of excited at the thought of a wintery hike, but this was way more than we had anticipated! We were all bundled up and warm, but the thought of spending the next three hours hiking up and down a mountain was not really the most appealing. I may have even intentionally postponed us starting the hike to take some photos… (Classic.) It really was extraordinary to see — you couldn’t even see the end of Lake Louise — just not hiking-appropriate weather (considering we aren’t really the most experienced hikers out there and weren’t fully prepared.)

HOWEVER (part two!) the snow didn’t fully stop us. We began hiking with good intentions but after one slip on my end, the trees not shielding us from the blowing snow as anticipated and knowing that there wasn’t even a teahouse to look forward to, we decided to turn around about 40 minutes of uphill hiking. Winning. Not. There were so many people who passed us coming down the trail and I was like how?! HOW are you smiling and not covered in snowy slip marks?

^ The really good thing about hiking in the winter is when you almost run out of water in your water bottles you can just eat the snow… ^

^ Hi Gandalf. ^

We ended up getting some hot chocolate and watching dumb videos on Facebook… Really took in the sights (nat). But then I did take more photos and was yet again enthralled by how close Lake Louise is to home. I could basically live there and be 100 per cent totally okay with it. Maybe we’ll have to just really live the dream and open our own remotely located teahouse one day;) And keep it open after Canadian Thanksgiving!

A field trip to River Café

How often is it that, in university, you get to go on a field trip?! When I was searching for potential courses to enrol in, I jumped at the chance to be in one that was taught by one of my favourite profs and included a field trip. Little did I know that this class outing would be to one of Calgary’s most-awarded restaurants, River Café on Prince’s Island Park.

This place is like a dream. I’m all about the ambiance when it comes to my dining experiences (as I’ve discovered through this food studies communications course) so River Cafe fit this bill perfectly. Because this restaurant’s on the Island, you can’t even drive to it — you have to walk. Which is seriously lovely. It forces you to have an experience and that really made an impact on me. Apart from all that, the food was to die for. Like, the most decadent.

Yup, that was our menu. I still think about everything I ate, weeks later. Especially when preparing my usual KD at least once a week at home. The restaurant’s all about organic, local, high-quality eating, so their menu changes up about eight times a year. That being said, I feel the burning need to come back here for every meal, in every season. (Once I win the lottery, of course.)

I’m grateful for my education on a day-to-day basis and this experience shot that gratitude through the roof. Dining at River Café was probably in the top five of my favourite university moments so far. It was a unique, filling afternoon, and one that I’m aware I won’t have an experience similar to for very long time!