Must Have for Spring - White Dresses

Spring is in the air (well actually there is snow still flying but I am ignoring that) and it has me dreaming about lighter wardrobes and airy dresses. I selected a few all white dresses that I think will be perfect for Spring and Summer. My dear blogging friend White Cabana will be so pleased with me, as the name suggests she is infatuated with white! 

Lilly Pulitzer Breakers Lace Top Shift Dress $298 US

Banana Republic BR Monogram Popover Dress $150

Hilary MacMillan White Silk Peasant Dress $275

J.Crew Chevron Pleated Dress $148 (up to 30% off with online code SPRINGSTYLE) 

GAP Seersucker Shirtdress $89.95

All prices in Canadian Dollars unless otherwise noted

Each one can be dressed up with all gold accessories, small splashes of colour, or simple white accessories to allow the dress to be the focal point. I love white in any season, what are your thoughts on white before Memorial Day and following Labour Day? Should we stick with the rule or are rules made to be broken?

Hilary MacMillan Show at Toronto Fashion Week

During Toronto Fashion Week I attended the Hilary MacMillan Fall/Winter 15 show, I introduced you to Hilary in a {Profiles} post. The collection showcased Hilary's talent for feminine designs, which is what drew me to her in the first place. If I had to sum it up into one word I would use Sleek. The stand outs for me were the black leather dresses, white tops with laser cut outs and the most gorgeous red silk dresses. 

A live band, The St. Royals, serenaded the models as they walked the runway. Their cover of Sia's Elastic Heart had everyone swaying! 

A mixture of materials; fur, leather and wool for this chic ensemble. 

View from the back, oh and a little celeb spotting! That is Elisha Cuthbert in the front row (in the grey jacket)

Hilary posted a teaser on her Instagram page about skulls and there it is, on the back of a leather jacket. 

I love white for any season. This slightly off white dress is fresh with laser cut outs and frankly looks like it would be warm to wear in the winter.

The first of two stand out red dresses and another celeb spotting! Aliya-Jasmine Sovani sitting front row seemed quite enamoured with this dress as well. 

This very sultry silk dress had the entire crowd staring. It blew in the breeze with ease and looked very comfortable to wear. A great dress for a night on the town.

A black leather shift dress accessorized with Nine West pumps and driving gloves. 

The sparkle on the arms and lapel up the glamour on this long blazer. This is a great wardrobe staple as it can dress up any outfit! Would look fantastic over black skinny pants and a cream turtleneck in the winter. 

A very edgy, yet still feminine, floor length black leather dress with a generous slit at the back to allow for mobility. The dress is cut to hug curves and has a little detail on the front, another black material attracts the eye and adds some interest while remaining monochromatic. 

The designer appears to a rousing round of applause! 

I was so excited for this show and Hilary and her team did not disappoint. I wish them the best of luck for 2015 and I am already counting down the days until the Spring/Summer 15 show this October! 

{Profiles} Hilary MacMillan

Today I am headed to World Mastercard Fashion Week (#WMCFW on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram) to see Toronto based womens clothing designer, Hilary MacMillan. This is my very first visit to Fashion Week and I knew after looking at the line up of talented designers that Hilary was the designer for me. Her Spring/Summer 15 line that showed during October's Fashion Week is exactly all the things I look for in a clothing line. There was lots of colour, ladylike silhouettes and lastly they are pieces that can be dressed up and dressed down. My personal favourite pieces from her Spring line, available this April on, is the white silk peasant dress and the lobster bow shirt. 

Hilary was kind enough to response to my {Profiles} questions and I hope you have as much fun reading them as I did!

Tell me what you do for a living? 

Womenswear Designer

How did you end up becoming a fashion designer? 

This is a complicated question. After I got my degree from UBC in political science & economics, I decided to go to design school. I was always interested in fashion and on a whim one day applied to Blanche Macdonald and got in. It was a big rush. The school helped me hone my skills and introduced me to the world of fashion in a technical way. After graduating I moved back to Toronto to help my sister open a jewellery and accessory store on Queen St West. We ran it together for a couple of years right in the heart of the design district of Toronto, which is in my opinion, the most artistic area of Toronto. I was really inspired by everything around me and one day I just decided to pursue my own line and I have never looked back.

What’s a typical day look like? 

I spend most of my days in my studio, and a typical day depends on what part of the season I’m currently designing – it could be pattern drafting, sample making, getting production ready, etc.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get in the field? 

Build a good team. Find people who support you and compliment your work.
What is your favourite part of your job? Seeing the final product, and when people fall in love with a particular piece and must own it. 

What is your favourite quote/motto to live by?

What is your favourite book 

Cutting for Stone 

Photo from Chapters Indigo

      How would you describe your style (personal and interior design)

      Personal: I commend those who have a distinct personal style but to be frank my personal style changes with my mood, sometimes I feel rock n’ roll and pair my skinny jeans with a leather jacket and dark eyeliner, and sometimes I feel more feminine and wear 50’s style dresses with a tailored blazer. My personal style is like my interior design style: eclectic. Like my personal style, my interior design can only be described as eclectic. I fall in love with different pieces and mix them all together in my own individual way – I am a big sucker for anything with a quote on it, photographs of the female silhouette, and white ceramic statues, anything from a large cow to a big white anchor.

     Who is your style icon? 

      Changes on a whim but currently I’m in love with Cara Delevingne’s free spirit. 

W Magazine

      What is your ideal Saturday night? 

       I love going to the pub with friends.

      What is your favourite perfume? 
       Anything from Escada 

Photo from Sephora

       Favourite drink? 
       I love mulled wine and hot totties, perfect on a chilly day in the winter.

Jamie Oliver mulled wine

       What is one piece of advice you would give to your younger self? 

       Don’t expect everything to just fall into your lap. It takes a lot of hard work and determination.

     What is one thing you are looking to accomplish in 2015? 

      Expand my stockiest list within Canada.

      Favourite song right now? 
      Take me to Church by Hozier


      What is the last thing you bought for yourself? 

       A new tattoo

I want to sincerely thank Hilary for taking time out of her busy day to give us some insight into her world. I am sending her many wishes for a great show tonight and I can't wait to cheer her on!

WOW Wednesday with Crystal Reia

Last week I introduced you to my extremely talented friend and personal trainer Crystal Reia. I have asked Crystal to share some fitness and nutrition information with y'all each Wednesday on the blog. Crystal does a lot of research, I mean a lot, and shares it with her clients on a regular basis. I attribute a lot of my personal wellness success to her, she is a great motivator! She posts regularly to her Facebook page and is very encouraging to all her students. I have learned an awful lot from her and I know you will too! 

Crystal always says that weight training is the most important thing for women to do. Below you will find some great information for bone health and a great list of tips to kick start your wellness! Take it away Crystal...




 I thought for my first post, I would stress the importance of weight training for women! With the growing obesity epidemic in our society, I am so happy that people are starting to take their health more seriously and are educating themselves about it. I will always continue to stress the importance of adding strength training into one’s weekly fitness routine, especially to my female clients. I think some women fall prey to such fears as; “Weights will make me look bulky”, or “if I go to the gym I don’t know what to do and I will look silly”.    
It is a well known fact that as we age, we as women (especially in our 50’s) can develop the risk of developing Osteopenia or Osteoporosis; which is the degenerative breaking down of the bones, or fragile/brittle bones due to hormonal changes or lack of nutrients such as Vitamin D.           
Besides upping your vitamin D? Strength training is one of the biggest ways to help prevent such diseases, because it helps build strong muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons and joints to help protect you.

Strength training also helps to raise metabolism for more efficient calorie utilization (even when you are doing nothing!) and aids in adding strength and great posture for making everyday activities easier; and those are just a few of the many benefits!


1.    For beginners, I recommend doing a strength program 2-3x per week for 30-60 minutes depending on your time commitment. If you don’t know what to do, then ask someone who does. A personal trainer is a wonderful asset and knows how to safely and correctly perform exercises. They will do the planning and thinking for you when it comes to exercise choice!

2.    Ensure you get adequate rest time between your strength sessions. You should always feel good and recovered when you go into your next session. In the beginning you may need more recovery time. 24-48 hours for some. Maybe longer for beginners as your muscles adapt. And yes! You WILL BE sorer in the beginning. DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness which is another topic all together is quite natural, when you are making your muscles perform activities that they have not done before. Usually stars about 24 hours later and can last up to several days before subsiding.)

3.    Always warm-up 5-10 minutes before lifting. Any full body activity will do (Treadmill, Elliptical, Biking, walking, jogging etc.) You need to prepare your body before jumping into strength training! Warming up helps to safely raise body temperature and heart rate gradually to get you prepared for exercising and to help prevent injuries. Dynamic stretching can also be a great part of a warm up as well. (Dynamic: meaning any stretches where you are moving, arm circles, easy hip swings etc. are two examples)

4.    Ensure you have proper form and technique down before lifting too heavy. The last thing you need is to apply too much force/stress too soon. However, you do need to find a weight that is challenging to you so that you are exhausting your muscles by your last set.

5.    Beginners can try 8-10 reps of an exercise for 2-3 sets with a short rest period in between.

6.    Strength training doesn’t just mean machines and free weights. Total Body Strength exercises are a favorite of mine and using your own body weight can really help you train to your fullest. TRX Training can be fun! But there are so many exercises you can do without any equipment at all right in your own home! There are many forms of doing strength training: Regular sets/reps, HIIT and Tabata (Strength and stamina), Pyramids, Eccentric training, playing up tempos and range of motions in your exercises etc. These are great ways to mix things up and to keep you from getting bored of the same old thing.

7.    Find strength exercises you like to do and or maybe train with a friend or trainer! Working out with someone can give you accountability to stick with it! Make programs fun and change it up often to provide challenge to your muscles. This is something I constantly do for my clients.

8.    Cool down: Stretching, stretching, stretching! Good to do in between sets as well as at the end. Do not skip this! Do you know how many people I see at the gym walking out during stretch at the end of a class or workout? It’s so bad for you. Always leave time for stretching; your muscles will thank you for it. Stretching helps relieve tired sore muscles and to prevent injuries. Static stretches (stretches that are held still) are best for after a workout when your muscles are nice and warm and will help improve your range of motion. (Which we lose as we age)

9.    Once you begin to train regularly, ensure your daily diet is on track. Get enough lean protein! 100-200 grams per day and stick to whole food vegetables and healthy fats.

10.    Drink water! Water will also help your recovery and aids in delivering proper nutrients to your muscles and organs!

I’m so happy to be able to share a few tips each week with you! I will start to post some of my favourite strength exercises and helpful nutrition tips each Wednesday right here on “Celebrating This Life”. If you have any questions or need any advice, I’m always happy to help!

Crystal Reia
Your Health-Your Choice