Stunning Photography to Inspire You to Visit Canada: " 2017 Country of the Year"

2017 Country of the Year: Canada

2017 Country of the Year: 2017

Canada: the True North Strong and Free

Of course,  I am a little biased when it comes to the beautiful country of Canada! I was born there, in a city 3 hours east of Calgary.  Medicine Hat, Alberta was the place, but B.C. is home. I spent most of my growing up years in metro Vancouver. I consider it my hometown, and miss it greatly

If you don't know it already, Canada has been named 2017 "Country of the Year"by Lonely Planet.  I was so thrilled Canada received this vote, it has so many amazing destinations to visit.

Top Holiday Style Trend for 2018: Velvet

Happy Wednesday Lovelies!

I hope you had the best weekend! This past Saturday, I was invited to a fashion event at Off 5th Ave-Saks. It took place at the newly opened store downtown Seattle. It was great fun! Stay tuned, more to come on that later.

The holidays are a busy time of parties, events, and concerts. In all the business, you may be struggling with outfit ideas for the festivities you must attend.  This year it's all about velvet!  Shoes, dresses, shoes, booties, pants, accessories- it's a velvet, style extravaganza!

How to Spend a Girl's Weekend In Las Vegas

MapleLeopard Blog: A Girls guide to Vegas

Happy Wednesday Friends!

It's time share another Wednesday wonder: Las Vegas, Nevada . It's a great place to vacay for so many reasons! This last trip was my 4th time to go. Each time I visit, I come back loving it more than before.

The end of October it was my best friend's birthday. She invited me along with her niece, to spend a 3 day weekend in Vegas. We had the best time ever, and it's definitely a great spot to hang out with your besties! Here are my tips for making the most of your weekend trip:

Holiday Gift Guide for the Stylish Traveler

Hey Friends, 

Is your tree up, baking done, and are your ready for Thanksgiving? Not me! I am so behind with everything, it's a good thing we are going out for dinner. Usually our cousins come up from California, but not this year. They just moved back to Illinois, so I am sad they can't make it.

The Perfect Dress for Travel: Chico's Traveler's Collection

Hello Friends,

* This post is in collaboration with Chico's Boutiques, all opinions are my own.  I received a dress, shawl and necklace , in exchange for an honest review.

I hope you are having an amazing week! Today, I am excited to share the most comfortable dress on the planet! Check out how I styled it, and all the details below.

Fall Trends To Try: Ruffled Sleeves & Embroidery

MapleLeopard Fashion Blog

*Disclosure: Affiliate links are used in this post. All opinions are my own

Happy November Lovelies!

I hope you are enjoying fall. It's hard to believe it's November already, and the holiday season is upon us. I haven't even thought much about it, or started shopping.  I am overdosing on the Hallmark holiday movies though, ha! These photos were taken at the beginning of fall, when the leaves just started turning colors. We just had our first round of the "white stuff" in Seattle, yuck!  It's crazy that we got snow this early.

Escape to Santa Cruz : Coney Island of the West

Travel guide for Santa Cruz, CA
As you know, I am a huge fan of California. I love all of the beaches. Most of the ones I have visited are in Southern CA. There are some NorCal beaches though, that are not to miss! Santa Cruz is full of color, views, and excitement!

Discover a New Version of Yourself: SumStyle Personal Styling

MapleLeopard Blog Seattle WA
Personal Styling in Seattle

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of networking with a local personal stylist, new to the Seattle style scene.  Susan Kim, is the owner and stylist of Sum Style located in South Lake Union. Sum Style is a fashion company, based out of Los Angeles and offers wardrobe consultations and several styling packages.  Susan is a graduate of  F.I.D.M , also in the L.A. area.

Millenial Meets Midlife: Bridging The Gap Blogger Campaign

Maple Leoaprd Blog- valerie

Millenial Meets Midlife:

Today is a great day in social media and blogging history! The Bridging the Gap campaign is now live, and I am excited to introduce you to my millennial friend and tell you more about this amazing event!

Why You Should Cruise Holland America to Alaska

A few weeks back, I was invited to tour a Holland America Cruise ship. The tour was arranged by Expedia Cruise Ship Centers. It was a 4 hour event, and included lunch on board, and a presentation of cruise options available for Alaska. If you know much about cruising to Alaska, the season comes to an towards the end of September. Which means ,you have the next 9 months to plan your cruise!

Bellevue Fashion Week : 8 Trends for Fall + Christian Siriano Interview

Bellevue WA, FAshion week 2017

 I'm excited to feature the top fall trends from Fashion week at the Bellevue Collection! It is the premiere fashion event of the year, in the Seattle area. Before I get to all the amazing style on the runway, I wanted to share a recap of the week's events.

Vermouth Travel & Lifestyle App: True Word of Mouth Experiences

Happy Wednesday,

To all my traveler friends, and chasers of amazing experiences:  You are going to love this app!

Neiman Marcus : Top Fall Trends For 2017

Hello lovelies- It's Fashion Friday Again!

A few weeks ago I attended a fall fashion show at Neiman Marcus in Bellevue. They always put on an amazing show, and my shopping list is always a mile long after seeing it!

Paradise Cove: Visit the Best Beach Cafe In Malibu

paradise cove vist the best beach cafe in malibu

I have always wanted to visit Malibu, since I was a teenager. I finally made It there, this past June. It was everything I've seen in pictures and more!  Malibu  is just 3o minutes west of Los Angeles. The city is known as "21 Miles of Scenic Beauty." It is situated along the Pacific coast highway, a long stretch of dreamy beach scenery.

Fashion Friday: End Of Summer Outfit Round Up

Hey beauties, Happy Fashion Friday!

Fashion Friday: End of Summer Outfit Round Up

 September is an exciting month for all of us in the fashion industry. It is fashion extravaganza happening all over the globe. Several fashion weeks are taking place over the next few weeks.

 I 'm bummed I won't make it to fashion week in New York. It is happening now, I hope to go next time. Fortunately we have an amazing fashion week here Sept 20-24 : Bellevue Fashion Week.  Tickets are still available, but they do go fast. Stay tuned for coverage on my insta-stories and on the blog.

Pt. Ruston: Visit Tacoma's Trendiest New Neighborhood

One of  the best parts of exploring the Northwest, is checking out new areas that are close to home. Last summer I was reading  a local magazine, and saw Point Ruston. It's the trendiest, up and coming neighborhood in Tacoma.

I didn't waste any time making a visit. When I went, the community was just in the beginning stages. Since then, a lot of construction has taken place.The area is booming with new eateries, shops, and condos. It is just so beautiful!

Point Ruston is in North Tacoma, and located down on the waterfront. It is my new and fav GO TO spot, I absolutely love it!

There are so many reasons why you should visit, but I narrowed it down to a few.


I've lived in the Seattle area for 30 years, and have taken in many views of Rainier from around the area. In my opinion, this is the spot to see the stunning mountain scene.

Of course : we all know it rains cats and dogs in Seattle, ha,  so your window of opportunity to get a clear view is limited. This month is still a great time to catch it.

Point Rustion Why You should visit Tacoma's Trendiest new neighborhood #pointrusont #tacoma #sonorthwest

What to Wear to a Late Summer Wedding

Hello Pretties!

It's the end of summer, which means several love birds have taken advantage of the good weather and already tied the knot. I'm sure there are more weddings planned for September and beyond. I don't usually write  about weddings, but thought it'd be fun to share what I wore.

Fall Must Haves: A- Line Skirt & Bell Sleeve Top

 * This post is a collaboration with Zan Style. I received  a  gift certificate to shop in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own

Fashion Friday

Happy weekend lovelies, I hope your week has been fun and productive! Summer is slipping away fast- its almost time to go back to work.  Fall is around the corner, which has us  planning
 our fall wardrobes. I am excited to share my first outfit post for Autumn.

fashion must haves for fall 2017

Grand Opening Of Thrift Culture In Belleuve WA: Look Good-Do Good

* This post is in collaboration with  Bellevue Life Spring. I was given a merchandise credit to shop in the store in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Happy Midweek Friends,

Last Wednesday I was invited to preview the grand reopening of Bellevue Life Spring's thrift store:
" Thrift Culture " at Bellevue Square.  I was really excited to attend this event, and to hear about the mission of this awesome organization, that gives back all proceeds to the community.

Grand opening of thrift culture in Bellevue WA

A Culture of Giving 

The Lifespring thrift store, was formerly located on the 1st floor of the Bellevue Square Mall.  It has been a mainstay in the community for several decades, and a hub for giving to help less fortunate
children in the area. The named was changed to reflect  the culture of of giving and neighbors helping each other. 

A Quick Travel Guide To Kelowna B.C, Canada

a quick travel guide to kelowna bc

Today I take you on a journey to one of my favorite places : Kelowna B.C.  I lived there for a year when I was seven years old.  My spirit of wanderlust for this city never ends!

LeMay Car Museum: High Couture Fashion Meets Exotic Car Runway

*This post is in Collaboration with Fashion District NW. I received two complimentary passes to the Cars and Couture show, in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.

The Cars & Couture fashion show at the Lemay Car Museum last weekend, was one of the best  fashion shows ever produced  here in the Northwest. Five high couture fashion designers from around the sound, showcased their collections with an exotic car runway as the backdrop.

I have to say this was one of the most breath taking shows I've ever seen, since I started fashion blogging 3 years ago.  The show was absolutely stunning, and every outfit made an unforgettable statement.

Lemay-America's Car Museum:

LeMay Car Museum: High Couture Fashion Meets Exotic Car Runway

DIY Gingham Cold Shoulder Top

Happy Wednesday Friends,

DIY Gingham Cold Shoulder Top

I hope your week has been amazing so far!  Is anyone else obsessed with the Gingham trend ?  Everything is showing up with this print- even shoes!  Gingham reminds me of my childhood days in the 70's, and brings back lots of feel good vibes from that decade.

The Fierce 50 Bloggers Take over L.A.

I just returned home from a month of travel and am so excited to share experiences from my first blogger event held in Redondo Beach, California . Several other creatives were in attendance besides the bloggers of the Fierce 50, and we had the best time together!

Earlier in the year I connected with a fabulous group of women from the Fierce 50 Revolution who are defying the term"aging". Check out how it all began here.  Anyway, at the end of June we all descended on LA, for an incredible weekend of activities, fun, and connecting! Catherine , the founder  and visionary of the Fierce 50, was so gracious and kind to facilitate this event . She is beautiful inside and out, and we appreciate all she has done for us.

 Life time friendships were made, and others are taking notice of women who are changing the perception of what middle age looks like. I met so many beautiful, kind ladies -with amazing talents to share with the world.

Heritage Park Calgary Alberta: A Complete Visitor's Guide

On July 1st, will be the celebration of Canada's 150th birthday. If you didn't know it already, I am from the beautiful country of Canada, and proud to call it my home!  Unfortunately I won't be north of the border on July 1st. Instead I celebrated early by visiting a historical village last week: :Heritage Park in Calgary.

*This post is in collaboration with Heritage Park of Calgary Alberta. I received complimentary entrance into the park in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Photography: Valerie Hansen

A Day at the Portland Japanese Garden

a day at the portland japanese garden

* This  post is in collaboration with the Portland Japanese Garden.  We received complimentary entrance into the garden, in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own

Happy June, wow how did it get here so fast!?! May was a super busy month for me, and I'm excited to share my latest adventure with you!  I usually visit the Portland area about once a year- in the month of May I visited twice. It is a beautiful Northwest city, and has outstanding outdoor experiences to enjoy.

I've been wanting to visit the Japanese Garden for a long time, and am thrilled I was able to collaborate for this lovely tour.

6 Pacific NW Bloggers Share Summer Style Tips

Hello Lovelies,

I 'm so ready for summer, how about you?  Cuteness overload is how I describe the styles available for summer 2017. I'm having a hard time deciding what to buy! If  you are having the same dilemma- hopefully this post inspires ideas for your next shopping trip.

This round up post features 6 fabulous bloggers from different areas of the Northwest. I asked each of them to share their favorite style essentials for warm weather.  If you get a chance, do check out their blogs for the latest trends and style stories.

All of them are very inspiring ladies, who love to help others with style advice. Cheryl is based near Boise Idaho. Nicole blogs from Alaska. Liang, Polly, Anne, and Monique are all my neighboring bloggers in the Seattle area.

Northwest Mountain Living: Cheryl
Instagram: @northwestmountainliving

In the Northwest Mountains of Idaho, summer essentials for me, are pieces that you can layer. It can be really hot in the sun while at the same time very cool in the shade. Light weight shorts, tops and long cardigans or dusters as seen in this picture are perfect. I love neutrals for summer because they seem so serene and cool. Hats are really important for keeping the sun off my face but also I just think they elevate any outfit and look so chic. A cross body bag is perfect for strolling through festivals and outdoor events because you can carry essentials without too much weight on your shoulders. Lastly a fun pair of sandals can really make an outfit pop

Voodoo In Portland OR: The Weirdest Doughnut Shop Ever

Voodoo in portland the weirdest Doughnut shop ever

Happy National Doughnt Day!

A few weeks ago, I made another visit to Voodoo-  a very interesting doughnut shop in Portland. It's probably one of the weirdest places I've ever eaten at!  A fun and eclectic atmosphere awaits you at  Voodoo Donuts.

The raised rings come in shapes you never dreamed of . Ha ha you'll just have to visit and  see for yourself! Voodoo is leading the deep fried revolution with flavors such as bacon maple and Portland Cream.

How To Stylishly Mix Dressy and Casual Clothes

How to Stylishly Mix dressy and casual clothes

Photography: Missy Palacol.

Hey Friends!

I was hoping to share a Memorial Day outfit guide, but life has been quite busy with teaching and blogging, so I am sharing an outfit shoot from a few weeks back.

I am so excited for my trip to LA coming up soon.. I'm traveling there for a blogger event, I will share more about that later! Isn't this L.A tee just the cutest?!?

Portland Oregon: The Ultimate Glamping Getaway

* This is a collaboration post. I received a complimentary stay from Glamping Hub, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Hey Friends,

As I mentioned in a previous post, I try to avoid camping at all costs! The only camping I do is "Glamping" in the nearest Holiday Inn! I recently featured Glamping Hub and some of the fabulous properties they offer as alternatives. This past weekend, we headed to Portland to stay at this darling cottage nestled in the woods. It was the perfect mother's day gift!

The Sleeveless Trench: Why It's Perfect for all Seasons

*This is a collaboration post. I received complimentary clothing items in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and thanks for supporting the brands that support this blog.

 Photography: Missy Palacol

The Sleeveless trench:Why its perfect for every season

Learn To Sew: Interview with Anita By Design

Hello Friends! If you've  followed my blog from the beginning, you know I started out blogging about fashion and sewing.  It was my plan to share sewing tips and guides. Unfortunately with working full time, blogging, and the technical challenges involved, the sewing part went mostly by the wayside. Instead, I focused on another love of mine: travel.

I have been inspired to make time for sewing again, by this lovely lady: Anita of
 Anita by Design!  What an inspiration she is! Anita has only been blogging since Jan 2016, and she is becoming an internet sensation!  She is an amazing seamstress or should I say sewist: that is the buzz word now!

Learn to Sew: Interiview with Anita by Design

5 Spectacular Spots to go Glamping

* All photos in this post are courtesy of the Glamping Hub site. 
*This is a collaboration post, all opinions are my own.

Summer time and travel season is coming up quick!  As you know from many of my blog stories:  I travel whenever possible, and love to share the latest trip ideas here when I can. Many like to take their vacations by kicking back in a lovely hotel or resort-  ahh that is my idea of a vacation.  For others, camping is a very popular choice for a getaway.

Glamping site in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

A Day at the Washington State Capitol

A day at the WA State Capitol

Last September around Labor Day, I visited the grounds of the WA State legislature. Everything was in bloom so beautifully. It has taken until now to get this post up, I've been backlogged with fashion events etc.

Spring has finally started showing up here in the northwest, and it's warming up! This is a perfect time  of year to make a visit to the capitol.

Chico's: The Ultimate Boutique Experience

Chicos The Ulitmate Boutique Experience
Visual Stylist for Chico's Stores Northwest

* This post is sponsored by Chico's Boutiques.  All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting
the brands that support this blog.

A few weeks ago, I had the most amazing style experience ever! I was invited to work with Chico's boutiques on their Best Girlfriends Campaign. Chico's sure knows how to make a girl feel special! Chocolate covered strawberries, make up do overs, excellent customer care, and pampering to the max. The event was to promote the spring style campaign and to celebrate best friends everywhere.

Neiman Marcus Trend Show: Spring's Big Ideas

Hey friends, can someone please tell Seattle the calendar says spring!?  Even if you are still in the midst of cold winter weather like us, you can still get your closet ready! Clean it out and fill it up some more!

The ultimate list of what to wear now was revealed at the spring trend show at Neiman Marcus Bellevue at the Bravern. It was my first time to attend an event there, and it was exquisite from beginning til end. I had a very exciting night viewing the trend show, and checking out this beautiful store. It was also great to catch up with my local blogger friends!

Destination "big ideas" right from the runway. Every piece seemed to make a unique statement, it was head turning fashion for sure!

Neiman Marcus Trend Show:

5 Spring Trends To Copy Now

Women in Blue and White Floral Dress With Pink Flower on Hand

*This post is sponsored by Century 21. All opinions are my own. Thank you
for supporting the brands that support this blog.

I love spring , it's my favorite season of all . It seems it's been a long time coming this year!  I am so ready, how about you?

Spring represents so many lovely things: new beginnings, flowers blooming, new life in the animal kingdom, open windows, road trips, and fresh clean scents waffling through the air.

Last but not least, all the spring fashion trends in bright pastel colors and light breezy fabrics await us! I just returned from a fashion tradeshow and was so inspired by all the creative designs coming our way. 

I don't know about you , but foremost in my mind is how can I copy looks I see on the runway without breaking the bank!  Today I am excited to feature a trendy online boutique: Century 21, where you can shop for super chic and trendy fashion.

Las Vegas: A Fun Photo Tour Down the Strip

Las Vegas: A Fun Photo Tour Down The Strip

Viva Las Vegas!

The sights on the strip: Las Vegas Blvd- and all the fun to behold will have you planning sooner than later! This was my 3rd visit to the city, and it never disappoints!

I was in town for the fashion tradeshow Magic, that in itself was worth the trip!  More about the show to come soon- with a recap of all the amazing trends coming for spring!

If rest is on the agenda, seeing an entertaining show, gambling, or playin it cool by the pool: Vegas has something for everyone. I am not much for gambling, but this time I had a little fun with it, that fun was short lived! Once 30 bucks went down the drain, I said that's it...I like new clothes in my travel bag instead!

Why You Should Have a Capsule Wardrobe

Wardrobe overload is a very real thing for us ladies! We've spent years compiling different pieces to build the most chic outfits, and the next thing you know, our closet is overstuffed  with clothes, we can't find the cardigan we bought last April. What if I told you there was a way you could have a several  outfits with limited items of clothing? Don't believe me? Let me tell you about one of the latest  trends in fashion: the capsule wardrobe.

Why a capsule wardrobe?

Capsule wardrobes are meant to keep your wardrobe lean and versatile. By adding creative accents to the staple pieces in your capsule wardrobe, you can make the most out of a small closet. By buying so much less, you girls can spend a little more and go for quality over quantity! I am so guilty of buying too many clothes I got on a cheap deal! My closet is screaming " Clean me out, so you can find something to where!" Ha...Yep too many clothes and can't decide what to wear.

For example, instead of buying three pairs of stiff dress pants, go for a more comfortable option, with high quality dress pants that are made of the same material as yoga pants. Rather than buying new shoes for every occasion, grab some cute boots, a go-to pair of comfy chic sneakers, and something with a little pop instead.

 Getting started

The hardest part about starting your capsule wardrobe will be the initial purging of your closet. They say the only way to eat a whale is one bite at a time. Start by pulling things out of the closet and setting them out in categories. Once you realize how much of everything you have, you'll have to start the process of parting with some of your endeared pieces .

Make the most of your closet when you're getting rid of things. Take your excess clothes to a consignment shop such as:  Plato's Closet. Or if you're feeling more generous, to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Once you've narrowed down your stash, it's time to take a look and start rebuilding! This quick five-step guide will be a huge help in the quest to build out a lean capsule wardrobe.

Why You Should Have a Capsule Wardrobe
 Image: Pexels

The Fierce 50 Campaign: Valerie Introduces Eugenia

the fierce 50 Campaign: Valerie introduceds Eugenia

Today is the launch of the " The Fierce 50" annual campaign! I am so excited to be part of this awesome project, celebrating women who are in the second act of life: 50 years old and beyond.

50 women have come together to celebrate and support each other in life and in their blogging journey.  A link to all the fabulous blogs participating can be found here. Catherine of CatherineGraceO is the mastermind of this project and we are all so grateful she invited all of us to join!

I am so honored to be included!  Each of the fifty women were paired with a blog buddy to feature on their blog on the 50th day of the year- today! I am blessed to connect with so many talented and powerful women, changing the paradigm of how females over 50 are viewed in society. So with no farther adieu,

Casual Winter Outfit


Maple Leopard

Shop the Look:

I hope wherever you are  today, you are warm and toasty! Punxsutawny Phil can just go crawl back in his hole! Ha, six more weeks of winter he says,  and wowzers it sure has made a blast here in western Washington. We had a huge dump of snow last night!

In harsh winter temps, layering up is key to staying warm. The challenge- how to stay warm and still be stylish!  An outerwear vest is the perfect piece to style a casual winter look with.

My new found love is puffer vests. I never used to like them, as they are so bulky and don't fit so well under a coat. I always felt like a puffer fish wearing one! This year they are super popular, and you can find them in every color and print you can imagine.

I was looking for one in silver or gray, and didn't have much luck.  I guess I was in good graces with Santy Claus this year- he brought me exactly what I was looking for. The vests are so fun for casual wear, or you can even dress one up by pairing with a pencil skirt.

And the booties...ah velvet and suede ones are all the rage this winter! Burgundy boots have been on my radar for a long time. I was dancing a happy dance when I found these last October, on a visit home to Vancouver BC.

This outfit is great also for a casual Valentine look. It's great to try something different and break away from traditional holiday colors. Red is the color for the season of love, but not a color that I wear well. Are you planning a special outfit(s) for Valenites? Would love to hear in the comments.

Off I go now to play in the white stuff , since we are all snowed in  and sooo sad we can't make it to work, ha! Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the internet, I hope you come back soon. I have an exciting project coming up I can't wait to share!

Maybe you'd like to pin it for Later:  Thank you!

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