Introducing… The Halie Top!

My sister, Halie, is currently part of an exhibition at Untitled Art Society called A Space Ship is Just a Time Machine. The reception was this weekend and she wanted to have an amazing outfit. The pants were already decided on but she wasn’t sure about the top.

Sewing Sister to the rescue! I had seen a photo that week on pinterest I thought would work perfectly with the pants. This pattern drafting was very simple and consists of two squares (for the back and front) and two rectangles (for the sleeves). Happily the muslin looked great.

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Stampede style inspiration throwback

In YYC the Calgary Stampede is a big deal. Have you been? If not it’s definitely an experience. This year the Stamped runs from July 3rd – 12th. The downtown is transformed with brightly painted windows, hay, and reclaimed wood boards.  Plaid shirts and cowboy hats abound! And the Stampede grounds are where all the action is.

 

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Since this is my 5th year in Calgary and my 4th year Stampeding I’ve been around the hay bale a couple of times. Dressing up cowboy style is always fun. I love the challenge of dressing in a theme. Trying to infuse your own style into an outfit while not looking like a costume can be a challenge. Do you really want to look like a cowgirl cliché? Of course not! That’s why I’m sharing two past posts I did on how to dress for a stampede/rodeo.

In 2013 white was on trend and that hasn’t changed for 2015. Get inspiration for how to accessorize your white lace dress/skirt or even what kind to buy. There are so many different styles! What I’m obsessed with… White lace dresses.

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Once you have your outfit you’re going to need a cowboy hat. This is a must as it completes the ensemble and helps keep the sun out of your eyes while watching the rodeo. A little cowboy hat creativity will show you two ways you can customize a run of the mill hat. Give your chapeau a little pizzaz and you’ll never get lost in the crowd.

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Remember, you’re beautiful and no matter what you choose to wear, confidence and a big cowgirl smile will always be in style during Stampede and beyond!

What I’m obsessed with… macarons!

Lately I have been seeing macarons everywhere! They’re all over my instagram feed and they look so darn tasty. Who doesn’t want to eat a little pastry that has filling and comes in every color of the rainbow. I think they’re the new frozen yogurt, which was the new doughnut, which was the new cupcake, etc. etc.. I feel like there are more places in Calgary offering macarons. Either that or I was totally oblivious to them before. Since I currently can’t get enough of them I thought I’d share two places I’ve tried macarons and two places that are tops on my list to try, all in Calgary.

Ollia Macarons & Tea

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I’ve seen photos of Ollia macarons on instagram and they always looked lovely, just like the store just off 17th ave, where you can purchase them! I tried three varieties and my favourite was Earl Grey. They also sell tea but I was only interested in the pastries. Ollia also offers a macaron baking class in their kitchen which sounds like a great girls night activity! Photos from www.byollia.com

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Monplaisir

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Monplaisir is located in the food court in The Core, which is a shopping center in downtown Calgary. It’s kind of hidden away so I wouldn’t be surprised if most people don’t know it’s there. They sell macarons and Belgian chocolate. Even thought these macarons are cost more the Ollia’s ($2.50 compared to $2.00 each) I must say I did like them a teensy bit more. The cookie was more dense and chewy, which I enjoyed. Below is a photo of the three varieties I tried. Rose lychee, peanut butter and jelly, and lavender honey which was my favourite. Top photo from www.monplaisir.ca

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Made by Marcus

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I’ve heard lots of good things about Made by Marcus macarons and am excited to try some out! They are sold in different venues across Calgary. the closest to me is Bridgeland Market, so it looks like I’ll be taking a stroll over there soon! All the venues are listed on his website. Photos from www.madebymarcus.ca

Yann Haute Patisserie

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Yann Haute Patisserie is located in a sweet yellow house in the Mission neighbourhood. I’ve also heard great things about their macarons. Looking at the flavours on their website www.yannboutique.com, blackcurrant and Irish coffee are two that I would be interested in tasting!  Photos are from  www.pinterest.com/yannboutique

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Where are your top places to get macarons in your town and what’s your favourite flavour?

A Swapping we will go! part 1

 

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On Sunday September 22nd I got up bright and early to attend The SWAP Team’s Take Off Your Clothes event. Armed with a coffee, my best swapping outfit and some pals to get second opinions from I waited patiently for the doors to open, anxious to get my swap on. This is the first time I’ve attended a clothing swap but with my love of thrift stores and scoring a bargain I knew I would have a great time!

The SWAP Team, founded in 2007, is a non-profit run entirely by volunteers. They currently have chapters in Montreal, Boston, NYC, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Halifax, Winnipeg, Northampton (MA) and Quebec City. The SWAP Team is all about promoting eco-friendly and socially conscious clothing consumption and all the clothing left over from the swap is donated to local charities! For every item in excellent condition brought in you get one ticket to exchange for a item of clothing or accessories found at the swap. The only cost is the price of the ticket $15. So the more you bring in the more you can walk away with! Luckily we were supplied with X-large bright green totes to haul our goodies in!

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Stacey Savage and Vanessa Erickson are the awesome Calgary Co-Chapter Directors and I was able to ask them a couple questions about how they got involved with SWAP, tips for swapping, and their fave spots in YYC.

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How did you first get involved with the Swap Team?

Stacey My first encounter with the SWAP was in October 2010. I was invited by my now Co-Director, Vanessa to come and volunteer on event day. I really had no idea what to expect, but I knew after my first day volunteering that I needed to get involved in a more substantial way. The next event, Spring 2011, I was on The SWAP Team as the volunteer coordinator. From then on out, Vanessa and I took over the event as Co-Directors, and this years event marks our 3rd SWAP as the official YYC Team.

Vanessa  I met the previous SWAP Team Calgary Director (and now VP of Operations), Necole Hines, at a girls night at a mutual friend’s house. We started talking and she explained that she was hosting the first ever Take Off Your Clothes event in Calgary, and I offered to volunteer. I spent the whole day in the sorting section literally amazed at the quality and the overwhelming quantity of clothes that were coming through the door, we had so much fun going through it all. After the first event, I became Necole’s Co-Director, and later brought on my best friend, Stacey Savage to replace Necole when she took a position as VP of Operations with The SWAP Team on a national scale

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What items are most coveted at the swap?

Stacey I find people typically go pretty crazy over the shoe section, the Jeans are a pretty hot item too. This year we had a phenomenal jeans section, there were so many great pairs that it’s easy to see why. Typically a good pair of jeans will set someone back over $100, so to be able to snag some for “free” can never be a bad thing!

Vanessa It really varies, but I would say the items that draw the most attention are vintage, unique or high-end items. We get a wide variety of people that attend, which means we get a tonne of variety in the items and the preferences of the people who attend. We find a lot of people going “Can I pull this off?” “What if I shorten the hem on this? “What if I belt it?” – people start to get creative and they step out of their comfort zones with the clothing, probably because it’s free!

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Are there any swapping no-no’s?

Stacey SWAP is a pretty freestyle event, we have everything from women changing in the middle of the room, to running around trying to show your best friend a great find that you know would look amazing on her. We don’t have a lot of “no-no”s per say, but we do like to encourage a friendly environment. We realize letting hundreds of people loose on free clothing can be risky, but we definitely promote a “be nice to your fellow SWAP’ers” mentality.

Vanessa The only thing I can really think of is putting something into the swap that you’re not prepared to get rid of. Because we can’t control the types of items that we get for each swap, we always try to warn our attendees, “if you aren’t willing to get nothing for it, don’t put it in the swap.” This way people can avoid feeling disappointed if they don’t find something of equal or higher value. We don’t guarantee that you will get your pieces back if you can’t swap-up. This being said, it’s rare when this type of situation comes up, because we really do get some great items for swapping!

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What is 1 tip you’d give to someone wanting to host their own home swap meet?

Stacey 1st tip is to be ruthless with your own closet, and encourage your friends to do the same. We ALL have those pieces in our closets that have been hanging there for years… we glance at them once and a while and invision the perfect outfit to go with it, but let’s face it… if you haven’t even put it on in the last 8 months, chances are you’re not going to. The best way to have a successful swap is to trust the process and get ready to purge your closet… trust me, it’s so refreshing!

Vanessa Invite your friends to bring friends, try to get as many people involved as possible. You will end up with more variety in terms of sizes, styles, etc so that you can make sure everyone walks away with something that they’re really excited about!

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What is your favourite color? 

Stacey My favourite color for fashion really changes with trends and seasons. This season I find myself being really attracted to a lot of army greens, and deep ox bloods and burgundy’s. I love fall fashion, so I’m really excited to fill up on chunky sweaters and scarves… I have a bit of a scarf addiction, I’ll admit.

Vanessa My favourite colour is green – it’s the colour of grass and emeralds (my favourite jewel!).

Where is one of your best loved places in Calgary?

Stacey We have so many local boutiques in this city where there are always amazing finds. I will say that I do love to be thrifty when I can, so Feisty Consignment on 17th avenue is a staple for me. They are ALWAYS restocking with amazing finds, barely worn items, great shoes, etc. It’s a must for anyone looking for great items at a reasonable price.

Vanessa One of my best loved spots in the city is the Blackfoot Farmers Market. Last year, my sister and I made it a date there almost every Sunday to grab a delicious lunch from Three Greek Gals, pick up fresh produce for the week and my guilty pleasure… taste testing all of the Simple Simons pies! She’s heading to New Zealand in a week, so sadly, I’ll need to find a new friend to go with, or fly solo 🙂

If your interested in my tips for successful swapping and what items I scored stay tuned for A Swapping We Will Go part 2!

What I’m listening to today… The Rural Alberta Advantage

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I really like listening to The Rural Alberta Advantage. They are a band that I enjoy most listening to alone. Mainly because then I can sing along without worry that my out of tune voice isn’t going to be laughed at but also because I feel I can connect better with the lyrics and music that way. I like songs with a good tune and that stir up some emotions and memories and I get both from The RAA. Here’s a short bio taken from their website:

The group consists of singer/guitarist Nils Edenloff, also the chief writer in the group; Paul Banwatt, whose raucous percussion pushes the songs into overdrive; and multi-instrumental Amy Cole, who provides keys, percussion, and backing vocals. Borrowing a regional slogan, Edenloff grew up in rural Fort McMurray, Alberta, and draws on his experiences there in his songwriting.

Departing is their second LP and was released on March 1, 2011.

Under the knife is the first song I heard from this band and it’s still one of my favourites.

If your in Calgary this weekend you can see The Rural Alberta Advantage for free! They’re playing the Sled Island Pre-fest party at Luke’s Drug Mart in Bridgeland Sunday June 2nd from 12-5. Check out the Facebook event HERE and for more info and tour dates visit their website www.theraa.com

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For me this band supplies perfect listening tunes for a long road trip or a rainy day spent inside.

Right on Target

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This morning I had the wonderful opportunity to go for a tour of one of the new Calgary Target stores a day before it opened. This one in Market Mall, as well as the stores in Chinook Center and Forest Lawn and seven other locations in Alberta will be soft opening May 7th. The Target in Shawnessy will open May 14th and the grand opening for all is scheduled for May 24.

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It was quite the experience to be in a new store in which no one has shopped in. The “team members” were all busy with final touches, looking sharp in their Target red and khaki outfits. The layout is totally redone from when Zellers previously occupied the space and it’s all shiny and red and white.

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Target carries a lot of great brands such as Papyrus, Mossimo Supply Co, Dyson, Apple, Kitchen Aid, Sonia Kashuk, Pixi, and tons more. They also do limited time collaborations, Roots and Sam & Libby, and are planning to do more with Canadian designers. I was quiet impressed with how fashion forward the maternity collections are.

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Nate Berkus Collection home accessories

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There are lots of ideas and products for organising.

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Unicorn bank anyone? When I went to a target in the states years ago I bought a set of Simply Shabby Chic sheets in a cabbage rose print and they are still my favourite! They’re great for summer as they always feel nice and crisp. I’m so excited that Target still has this line!

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Our tour guide, John Morioka Sr. Vice of Merchandise, told us that Target is testing these bright beauty displays in Canadian stores. With three rows of every beauty product imaginable I’m sure they’ll be a hit.

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Mr. Morioka is explaining about how Target tries to stay freah and on trend with their products. They have an Expect more. Pay less. brand promise which is sure to please plenty of new customers.

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You might be wondering, like I was, why there are no lights on in the ice cream freezer? Simple, the lights come on as you walk by! How cool is that? Sorry about the pun. Lol

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These cereals, a target exclusive brand, include chocolate chunk hazelnut biscotti and French vanilla almond crunch. Yum!

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This packaging is designed by textile designer Orla Kiely. Another Target exclusive.

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Because who wants a sales person hovering around you. When I need help I’ll just summon someone with the press of a handy button.

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This has got to be the cutest gift card ever!

So who’s excited to go see what all the fuss is about? I’m definitely stoked to go back when I can actually purchase instead of just looking at longingly.

You can learn more at their website www.target.ca or follow them on facebook www.facebook.com/TargetCanada or twitter www.twitter.com/target.ca

What is your favorite thing you’ve purcheased at Target? Or what are you looking forward to buying?

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I had such a informative and fun time on the tour. I can’t wait to get my hands on all the cute things I saw!

Wreck City: See it before the demolition ball does!

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When I looked out my window on Saturday I saw a grey cloudy day with a skiff of snow on the ground. Not ideal weather, but that wouldn’t stop me from heading down to the community of Sunnyside to check out Wreck City.

“Wreck City: An epilogue for 809” is a group of local artists who have taken nine houses that are slated for demolition and turned them into temporary art, instillation, and performance spaces. 8 artist/curators and 100+ extremely creative individuals have worked very hard to bring this together and I was super excited to see the results!

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“Enter at your own risk” is posted at the entrance of each house as well as the names of the artists who contributed to that space, but don’t be alarmed, everything inside is secure. Here’s a tip: for the optimum experience wear clothes you can move around in and stable shoes. Also forget the big purse or tote, it will only get in your way. The spaces are amazingly hands on and remind me of a real life snakes and ladders game. There are things to climb, crawl through, peek in and slide down, but only if you want to, and believe me you’ll want to! Thank goodness I was wearing thick tights!

This is truly an experience for all your senses whether it be sight, touch, smell, sound, or taste (fresh baked cookies anyone?). Each day also features different performances. Click Here for a schedule. I had a fantastic time immersing myself in these houses and chatting with the artists. The following photos are only a tiny sample of what you can expect from Wreck City. If your going to be in Calgary this week you would be missing out if you didn’t venture down to Sunnyside to check it out!

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Wreck City is free and open to all ages, everyday until April 27th.

visit their website at www.wreckcityproject.wordpress.com to find out more!

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Yes, that’s a slide and yes, that’s a railing. Safety first!

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Going down! Side note: I was just talking about Light Brights at work and how much I wanted one. After seeing this one now I want one even more, sigh.

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This is a great example of how when people come together, they can take something that one might deem worthless and transform it into something extraordinary. Have I piqued your interest yet?