i studied my surroundings: beige walls and old, ugly ’90s chairs with green and blue faded floral fabric. i fidgeted in my seat. the drapes were dusty and the tv played sponge bob square pants. i fidgeted with the forms in my hand. no one made eye contact and my coffee was finished. i fidgeted with my coffee cup.

i didn’t want to be here. why was i?

my mind flashed back to that wednesday night.

i lifted my head from the pillow, now soaked from tears. the clock flashed 8:03 p.m.; i had been crying for somewhere close to two hours. as i cleaned my kleenex-covered bed, slowing picking up each damp tissue and inspecting it before piling it in the waste bin, i couldn’t remember what started the sobbing. that wasn’t new. why did i ever cry lately? it was rarely ever an event that set me off, more of a blanket – a large, heavy, suffocating blanket – of emotion.

this evening may have been about loneliness. a type of loneliness that could only be filled by love, but not people. i missed my friends but did not want to see them. more than anything i missed my family back in ontario. sister, dad, and mom. oh, my funny, little mom. i inherited her large forehead, and eyes that change colour like a mood ring. i inherited her crooked nose and affinity for blonde hair dye. it also seems i inherited her depression and anxiety.

and, as odd as you may think this statement to be, i see it as a gift.

yes, a gift that you can’t quite wrap in sparkly little bows, no matter how hard you try to put that spin on it, but a gift nonetheless.

my mother’s gift allowed me to understand her.

the times sister and i jumped on her bed and played in her room because she didn’t get out from under the covers; the times she was quick to temper; the times she isolated herself: i understand them all.

the pyramid of kleenex in my garbage can made me think. my impulses and reactions no longer felt “normal”. maybe it wasn’t just a bad day. maybe it wasn’t PMS, or that thing that person said at work, or the latest guy i was no longer dating. maybe it was me.

i spent so much time hiding my feelings of inadequacy, sadness, anxiety, and self-hate, and the tears came because i had no idea how to deal with this inner voice. i couldn’t fess up to the weakness and fear that had a firm grasp on me. if i said it out loud would i be less of a person?

i often wonder what it would be like if the dark cloud of depression didn’t follow me around; if my brain didn’t always work overtime to flood my mind with anxiety; if picturing harming myself wasn’t a thing. what would it be like to be “normal”?

i couldn’t keep at it alone, i needed help. i feared going to a doctor because i didn’t want to live in a medicated haze, and i didn’t think i belonged at a psychiatrist’s office because i wasn’t “crazy”. crazy. a word i was terrified would haunt me for the rest of my life. my sad, lonely, crazy life. with cats. at least two cats, because they needed a companion, and…

“laura?”

i snapped out of my downward spiral, and straight back into that beige waiting room. i stood and handed her my forms: intake, contact information, mood indicator. she was young with a nose ring and a tattoo on her right foot. she was my counsellor and i already felt like she could help me.

i was lucky enough to find calgary counselling centre, a charitable organization committed to providing compassionate, professional, and affordable counselling services to calgarians. they’ve moved into a much nicer building, with a view of the calgary tower and downtown skyline – no more beige walls or floral chairs. though i am no longer regularly going to sessions, i am thankfully for my on-and-off five years and different counsellors there. 

if you share any of these feelings or thoughts i’ve expressed, i encourage you to be brave, to look past the stigma that still very much exists, and make the hardest decision to help yourself when it feels like nothing can get better. i’m here for you. i relate to you. i cry alongside you.

boobs!

do i have your attention now? good. let’s talk about them.

breast cancer will affect one in eight women in their lifetime. it is estimated that 26,300 women and 230 men in Canada will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

so what can be done? well, we can party!

Boobyball is back with the biggest, most bodacious bash ever! it’s such a fun way to raise money for Rethink Breast Cancer’s work for young women concerned about and affected by breast cancer.

this year’s theme – get physical – is an ode to the 80s and 90s. but most importantly, it aims to promote and celebrate regular physical activity, which helps reduce a woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. this year’s annual soiree will celebrate healthy, active lifestyles with a retro twist.

i’m really excited to be attending as an ambassador this year in calgary, after being a supporter of Boobyball in toronto. join me on saturday, october 14 at hotel arts, and i may just challenge you to an aerobic dance off!

while philanthropy and awareness of female cancers are of great importance to me, my first not-so-serious thought was: what am i going to wear?

my mind first flashed to scrunchies, legwarmers, and neon bodysuits. don’t you wish american apparel was still a thing? (rip). but maybe a bit too expected in terms of attire? i pride myself on being different, so instead of olivia newton-john and high cut leotards, i have put together four looks for you from some of my favourite 80s and 90s fashion.

andie – pretty in pink

while andie did her long skirts and satin dresses, i loved her androgynous style throughout the movie. that’s why i would favour a jumpsuit over a dress to properly start her look.

the bigger the better is the motto when it comes to shoulder pads in the 80s. so when you pick out your blazer make sure it points up at the shoulders and leaves plenty of room for padding.

a pink belt, since this is pretty in pink after all! wear it over the blazer, natch.

homemade earrings are true andie fashion, but big and colourful are your go-tos here.

a flower lapel is a perfect finish to this look. the polka dots are a homage to her prom dress.

 

zack morris – saved by the bell

the canadian tuxedo never looked so good. sigh, zach morris was my favourite childhood heartthrob…along with jordan knight (nkotb4life).

raid your father’s closet, because dad jeans are totes in fashion here.

a plain shirt can get a bit boring. and zack was never boring. add some flair to your button-up shirt with stripes of colour blocking…and always roll the sleeves up.

sneaker game was always on-point. these nike dynasty hightops were just one of the multitude of kicks worn in the show.

and why not show off your crush with a custom kelly kapowski tee under it all?

 

kurt cobain – nirvana 

what’s that saying? everything old is new again. this really hit me hard when i looked at what is currently in fashion and kurt cobain’s iconic style. good news is, it will be easy to find in-store.

ripped jeans are a must. you’re too cool for pants that have all of the material intact.

a leopard print jacket, or any fuzzy jacket really, will keep you warm while showing everyone your weird and wild side.

fashion? no, i found this earflap hat in a dumpster. the seattle grunge phase was strange, my friends. i can’t explain it.

white-framed sunglasses – presumably courtney love’s – let you check out whoever you want without them knowing. reason enough to wear them inside.

you’ll also need a pack of smokes, candy ones – because smokers are jokers.

 

cher horowitz – clueless

as if i could forget cher! i’m happy to see her style becoming on-trend again, but as a cathloic school girl, i don’t think i’ll ever wear a kilt again.

pair it with a velvet crop – this is a party after all, or wear a crisp white dress shirt underneath if you’re feeling modest.

over-the-knee stockings give this good girl gone bad style a sexy finishing touch.

mary janes are your shoe of choice. take this look into modern day by making them manolo blahniks.

her flip phone might not be able to capture instagram stories, but the val party made quick history of that.

highschool chic means baby backpack. it can’t hold any of your books or supplies, but gosh it looks cute.


which is your favourite look from the 80s or 90s? 

this little slice of the internet has introduced me to a lot of lovely people. it was an incredible gateway for me meeting new people once i moved to calgary almost six years ago (what? six!?)

one of those great people is Irene – you may know her as @heyseto! as a born and raised calgarian she’s basically a unicorn. and for that reason, she’s also my oracle for when i want to know something great about this city i’m calling home. Irene knows the pulse of the city and makes an effort to keep ahead of the curve when it comes to new and local.

who better to dish the essentials for any wild rose country lady? check out Irene’s calgary localist must-haves:

 

happy camper crewneck
i think every girl in calgary already has a Camp Brand Goods “happy camper” sweatshirt and if they don’t, they need to get one. i have had mine for many years now and it is super worn in and well-loved. {laura’s note: i have one, too!}

artisan bonbons
sometimes you just need to treat ‘yo self with these delectables from the chocolate lab.

peppermint lip butter
that dry calgary weather means some extra work on my skincare regime. Rocky Mountain Soap’s chapsticks are great for keeping those lips smooth and kiss-worthy. i like the peppermint for a little extra tingle. {laura’s note: one of erin’s favourites, too}

alpine studs
i love these beautiful earrings because they let me take keep the mountains with me.

alberta pin
a chance to show off my alberta love in a simple little pin.

wild rose beauty balm
Neal’s Yard Remedies also has rich and creamy moisturizers to help rehydrate your skin. i like the wild rose beauty balm because it covers all your skincare bases. {laura’s note: one of my favourites, and one of tanya’s, too}

dote magazine
a copy of dote magazine to read up on the latest style and décor trends in calgary. plus it makes for the perfect adornment on the coffee table.

peter
peter is the most delicious cold-pressed juice. perhaps it’s due to the fact that juice because somehow made carrot juice so palatable or that it reminds me of childhood stories of peter rabbit.


what are your local must-haves?