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Le WMontréal Revampe Ses Chambres

Sep 30, 2015

Impossible de refuser une invitation du WMontréal! Car s'il existe un endroit à Montréal où l'élégance rime avec glamour et avant-garde, c'est sans contredit dans cette ancienne banque reconvertie en hôtel haut de gamme. Pour souligner la récente rénovation de ses 152 chambres et suites, le WMontréal a eu la brillante idée d'organiser une soirée exclusive mettant en valeur la dualité de la ville. C'est jeudi dernier, au dernier étage de l'hôtel que la fête a débuté par une visite impromptue des suites où l'on pouvait y retrouver des mannequins vêtus par des designers locaux. Il y avait d'abord Mélissa Nepton pour illustrer le côté moderne de la mode québécoise, puis 3Paradis pour démontrer son aspect plus classique. Pour évoquer l'été, on y retrouvait des tenues Nico dans une mise en scène remplie de flamands oranges - sans contredit ma pièce préférée - et des tenues Harricana pour nous plonger dans le chic de l'hiver. Dans une autre suite se trouvait le bar éphémère Pur Vodka où de délicieux cocktails fruités étaient servis alors que les invités discutaient assis sur le lit ou autour de la baignoire! La soirée s'est alors poursuivie au Plateau Lounge avec l'énergie contagieuse de DJ Abeille suivi d'un concert intimiste du duo Milk&Bone. Quel moment sublime! Puis, c'est le DJ new-yorkais Andrew Wyatt qui a conclu cet événement haut en couleur. 

Les suites que j'ai eu l'occasion de découvrir jeudi dernier sont d'un chic fou. Chaque pièce comporte un luxueux mobilier contemporain d'un design impéccable. Les chambres sont aménagées avec un grand soucis du détail. On y retrouve, par exemple, des éléments dorées pour rappeler l'ancienne vocation du bâtiment ainsi qu'une traîne en fourrure posée sur le lit, qui vient évoquer le commerce de la fourrure grandement lié à l'histoire de Montréal. Les chambres invitent à la détente, à la fête et deviennent un espace créatif inspirant. Je vous parle sous peu de mon séjour enchanteur au WMontréal...

Avec Catherine Martel et Jessika Dufour du blogue Querelles

Catherine xo
Image credit: W Montreal

Le Bal Du Mac, A Lavish Affair

Sep 24, 2015

One of the most extravagant black tie events in Montreal's social calendar is the Annual Ball of the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, aka Le Bal du Mac. Its latest edition, which I attended for the first time last Saturday, did not disappoint. Over 800 guests came to dine and dance at "La suite 185 de l'hôtel éphémère de l'Arsenal", a grandiose hotel suite filled with artwork from contemporary artists such as David Altmejd, Geneviève Cadieux, Jon Rafman and Nicolas Baier. Organized by Sid Lee, the grand affair was a surprise-filled event, which raised more than $700,000 for the Musée Foundation. It was a lavish fundraising event set in a stunning decor, reminiscent of an earlier period. The attention to detail was meticulous: From the front desk, the bell boys, the maids, the flamboyant hotel manager, the elegant lounge and its vintage bar, the spectacular chandeliers, the live performances by dancers from Les Grands Ballets and the secret room, where absinthe was served, the event's staging was impeccable. I can't wait o find out next year's theme!

With fellow bloggers and Alexandre Taillefer, Chairman of the board of Directors of the MAC

Catherine xo
Image credit: Huffington Post, Nightlife

M Salon's Tropical Backyard Bash

Sep 23, 2015

If there is a spa in town where you can expect a BIG welcome, great music and free wine, it's the stylish black and white M Salon located in Griffintown. I have been there a few times since its opening last year and I have always been amazed by the energy of the place. It's really a festive salon where the cool kids get their mani/pedi, facials, haircuts, blowouts and hair treatments as well as waxing. 

They now offer a new service named MENicure, which is not surprising considering that Arie Benchetrit, the proud owner, came up with the nail salon concept as he wasn't able to find a similar place after moving into his new neighborhood. The guy was just so passionate about his business venture that he went all the way to China to research the numerous nail products and learn the tricks of the trade before opening his business. That's what I called being impressively thorough, Mr. Benchetrit.

With a revamped first location and second location recently opened in Nun's Island, the M Salon had a lot to celebrate lately. To thank their loyal customers and mark the end of summer, the place held its second backyard bash. And what a tropical and festive party it was! I got myself a perky red Vinylux manicure (seen on my Instagram feed last week) while sipping a fresh piña colada. Here's a glance at the cheerful event which was realized in partnership with Juicyyy Lab, La Diperie, Morrocan Oil, Vinylux, Boost and Freeze and Café Frida, a delicious new taco joint located near the salon.

M Salon is located at 1332 rue Notre-Dame O, Montréal (514) 507-7720

PR maven Steph Bercovich with M Salon owner Arie Benchetrit

Catherine xo
Image credit: Moetreal

Boutique Billie Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary!

Sep 22, 2015
Véronique Saine, owner of Boutique Billie
I don't know about you, but I often spend hours pinning images on Pinterest before going to bed. It's so inspiring to look at picture-perfect apartments, dreamy travel destinations, to discover mouthwatering pastries, countless green smoothie recipes and plenty of kick ass ways to tone your legs or to swoon over pastel party ideas. Last week, I was invited to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Billie, the trendy clothing and accessory boutique in Outremont. You should have seen the decor: It totally felt like stepping into a girly Pinterest board! The store was filled with gold and pink details, from the sweet table, to the flowers and the pink cocktails served in gold-rimed glasses. It was incredibly festive!

Celebrating 10 years as an independent apparel store is quite remarkable if you consider the fact that we are now living in a world obsessed with fast fashion and online stores. I guess Véronique Saine, the lady behind Billie's success story, was quite clever to observe what the market was lacking when she opened her niche store a decade ago. Along with high-end brands such as Alice + Olivia, Joie, Parker and Graham, Billie now offers its very own clothing line with modern must-haves ranging from $20 to $60. Aside from the always desirable assortment of garments, to me the main appeal of the boutique is the quality of service provided by Miss Saine and her team of devoted Billie girls. The one-on-one customer service means that you are guaranteed to leave the store with the best pieces for your shape and your lifestyle. While the staff is always keen on pleasing the customers, everything is done in a warm, laid-back fashion as if you were playing in your best friend's closet. And that's why I like to visit the place often.

Cheers to you Billie

Here I am eating pink cotton candy!
Catherine xo

Image credit: Billie and Nightlife 

3 Laroche-Posay Staples

Sep 18, 2015

Laroche-Posay is one of the first skincare brands I have tried and as such, it will always have a special place in my heart. Although I have tried many different brands since then, I often return to the blue label because I am convinced that within their comprehensive inventory, I'll always find a great product to address my skin's needs. When we think Laroche-Posay, we often consider Anthelios, the mighty effective and well-known sunscreen line. As much as I like Anthelios products, today I thought I'd tell you about three other products I have very often in my beauty cabinet.

The first one is Toleriane Ultra-Fluid, which I have already mentioned in my Winter Pampering edit. It's a gentle and extremely lightweight face moisturizer that can be used year-round. I like the no-fuss appeal of this face lotion. It's nothing very sexy, yet it's so soothing and hydrating. I have started to use the Intensive Resurfacing Serum Derm AHA after being advised that chemical exfoliation would be less damaging to my skin. This water-based alpha-hydroxy acid serum is designed to improve the tone and texture of the skin. It's another lightweight Laroche-Posay product that is easily absorbed once applied. I believe that it is particularly efficient at treating dull, lackluster complexion. My third favourite is Redermic R Eyes, a powerful retinol concentrate especially developed for the delicate area around the eyes. It's an all-in-one nighttime treatment to reduce dark circles, smooth lines away and prevent dryness. While it contains 0,1% pure retinol, it's gentle enough for my sensitive skin. I always go back to this eye cream whenever my eyes feel tired or when they are lacking luminosity. 

What are your Laroche-Posay staples?
Catherine xo

My Chat With Personal Concierge Cynthia Polanco

Sep 17, 2015

Why you need a concierge in your life

I love to meet passionate people, especially passionate women who are turning their passion into a dream job. The first time I met Cynthia Polanco, the bubbly Salvadorian lady behind Cynthia Conciergerie, I was entirely charmed by her contagious energy, her unparalleled style and her unconditional love for Montreal. This former hotel concierge is now offering her services as a personal concierge, which means that she will search the city extensively to recommend the best places, and often the hidden gems our town has to offer. As a true Montrealer, she likes the city for its multiculturalism, for its diversity and also for its legendary conviviality. I sat down with her to discuss the in and outs of her exciting job and to chat travel, fashion, beauty and more...

1. What is the role of a personal concierge not affiliated to a hotel? What kind of services do you offer?
The role of an independent personal concierge is similar to what regular hotel concierges do in the sense that we both provide main recommendations anything tourism related. For example, we will recommend places to eat, places to visit, places to shop, etc. However, since we are not affiliated to a particular hotel, we are free to recommend any hotels in the city to our customers and we have the privilege to have different partnerships with luxurious hotels such as the St-Paul Hotel, the Crystal Hotel and others.

Cynthia Conciergerie strives in providing not only regular or basics recommendations but THE Best recommendations in town. We are ready to do anything that could make our customer’s life easier. Another thing that makes us different compared to a hotel concierge is that we also take care of event planning where we organize all different type of events such as bachelor/ette parties, engagement sessions, corporate parties and even weddings!

Although we are Montreal based and concentrate ourselves mainly in our city, we do travel often and provide the same type of services and recommendations to major cities such as for Toronto, Vancouver, New York, Miami, etc. At Cynthia Conciergerie, we don’t see people as room numbers, but as what they really are: People with different backgrounds, experiences and challenges. Therefore, our goal is to really get to know them and create a special relationship founded with trust, personal interest, love and good vibes only.

2. What inspired you to become a personal concierge? 
I think what has motivated me the most is my genuine interest and love towards the other person and my immense love about Montreal. As l say all the time, l am a «Montreal lover» and l can’t get enough of discovering new places, experiencing new menus, learning about new galleries, etc. I think that in nowadays, it is hard to keep a balance between our personal and professional lives. This is why my team and l have committed ourselves to make people’s life easier by taking care of them so they could rely on us and discover or rediscover Montreal if applicable.

3. Are your clients mostly Montrealers or tourists? 
Our clientele is mostly composed by local people, business women and men, Montrealers who requires all types of recommendations & coordination and event planning. However, we do have tourists coming outside of Quebec, Anglo-Canadians and Americans. We do get a little more women than men and their age group is located between 25-40 years old.

4. Can you tell me about an event that you are proud to have organised? 
One of our most recent experience was a total premiere this summer when we were first asked to help to organize a wedding, which it is not something that we have promoted as a service, but that we are certainly able to manage as l have personal experience in that field. We were very excited to coordinate a wonderful vintage and luxurious car transportation for our guests and provide them assistance with private entertainers, DJ, and more.

We also took care of a group of 40 Americans coming for an Engagement party that we assisted in organizing. It was quite a challenge to set everything up in restaurants and brunch places, especially on a Sunday, when it is very busy in Montreal, however, they were all very happy about the service and their experience in Montreal!

5. Can you describe your perfect weekend in Montreal? 
My perfect weekend would start with a delicious brunch from Le Cartet in Old Montreal, followed by a spa retreat to one of my favorite spas at Bota Bota. Then l would take a bixi to follow the Lachine Canal from Old Montreal to explore the Atwater Market and its local products. I will then stay in  the Little Burgundy area to enjoy a delicious meal from Joe Beef and come back to Old Montreal to enjoy a Spritz Aperol on a rooftop terrasse at the Nelligan Terrasse. There is so much that l would do that this small paragraph won’t have enough space to contain everything! For more ideas and recommendations don’t hesitate to contact us via the following form(Plus we could get you VIP dining reservations at Joe Beef for real!!)

6. Can you name three Montrealers you find inspiring and explain why? 
Three is a hard number… I think about Tea-You for building her local fashion empire through the social medias, The Elias Sisters from Elama Fur, Danielle Otou from Female Department, Nalie Agustin from, Lolita Dandoy from Fashion is Everywhere, Marie-Annick Boisvert from Marianik PR, Thomas Vernis owner of Dolcetto & Co, Santos and Tommy Café + Apéro Jakub Srodtz from Régal Matinal, etc. All the things they have in common and that l admire is their passion for what they do, their commitment towards their goals and dreams and their hard work to make their dream reality. Entrepreneurship is never easy but patience, passion and hard work are the keys to the success.

7. What are your favourite places for shopping in Montreal? 
I have different boutiques l always go to and have a thing for local boutiques such as Willis Couture, Masabni, Mèche The Label and Denis Gagnon. I also love the classic and simple style from Judith & Charles and the personalized service l get from their team. For home décor, l love Artemano and L’Intervalle for shoes.

8. How would you describe your personal style? 
I like to have a professional appearance, especially l participate to different media launch events or press conferences when l met new customers or during business meetings with different vendors or partners. However, l am a natural fashionista and a fashion lover, therefore, when l attend anything fashion related, l tend to be a little less formal and add more pop to my outfit.

9. Since you are a busy lady and that you are always out and about in the city, what are your go-to beauty products to freshen up before going out? Although l love makeup and beauty products, my best go-to beauty products will be my lipsticks. I never leave the house without a bright lipstick on my lips and in my purse. If it is missing, l literally feel incomplete haha! A good lipstick that illuminates your skin tone and a nice touch of bronzer to raise you up when you feel tired would be my best go to products! Those and water! I drink a lot of water during the day and l think it helps a lot to have a nice bright and clean skin.

10. What are you most grateful for in life? 
I think the most important thing l am grateful in life would be at first the fact that l am alive and in good health. Having health is the most important thing in life as it allows you to do the things you love and experience wonderful things. I am truly grateful to count my mom, Lissette Polanco as my biggest supporter, who has taught me the value of hard work in life and to not be afraid of what you are neither what you do, and so my boyfriend Mihailo, who could not be any more supportive and helpful with all the work that Cynthia Conciergerie entitles. In fact, Mihailo is not only a supporter but is also part of the team!

I am grateful for my team and the choice l have made through entrepreneurship by allowing myself to do what l love the most and create a name and a reputation little by little and especially to all my customers who have put their trust in Cynthia Conciergerie and allow me to be what l am, their Personal Concierge.

Catherine xo

Browns X Stan Smith X Tava

Sep 13, 2015

Get your Stan Smith Customized by Montreal pop artist TAVA!
As much as I like my heels, nothing beats a comfy pair of sneakers when I need to run errands or feel like strolling around the city. As you all know, sneakers are truly having a moment these days, especially the famously white Stan Smith. And now, thanks to Browns and Montreal pop artist Antoine Tavaglione, aka TAVA, the ultimate fashion shoe can now be customized in a brilliantly colourful manner. Want to know how to get your hands on this cool and witty fashion collaboration? For a limited time only, head over to Browns on St-Catherine Street to purchase a pair of Stan Smith ($115) and get it custom designed by the uber talented local artist (design starts at $150). Want to know my favourite pair? The ones with the pastel macarons, probably the sweetest sneakers ever!

Browns is located at 1191 St-Catherine (514)987-1206

At the launch party with fellow bloggers

Catherine xo
Image credit: Jean-François Galipeau/Huffington Post Quebec and TAVA

Winter White Glam Accessories at HomeSense

Sep 9, 2015

Fancy a sophisticated decor like the ones we see in glossy magazines, but without the hefty price tag? A city chic and luminous apartment with a soothing, relaxing vibe. Head over to HomeSense this season to score elegant findings to create your dream ladylike apartment. This fall, my go-to store for trendy decor accessories will feature plenty of items in an elegant soft grey and winter white palette. We can expect a lot of luxurious material such as Lucite, mirrors, chrome and crystal, perfect to add a modern touch to any room. Here are three glam items I am already coveting from the upcoming HomeSense collection. Isn't the white bench simply divine?

Catherine xo

Image credits: HomeSense