mercedes benz start up fashion.

last friday, Katey and i got kinda fancy and headed to the Mercedes Benz Start Up calgary semi-final fashion show.

MBSU is an ongoing initiative that provides a national platform to discover and support emerging canadian fashion designers. in its fourth year, the program travels from coast to coast, identifying the next generation of rising talent and provides them access to fashion business experts to help them hone skills. designers gain the knowledge and skill set required to develop a sustainable career in the fashion industry, while elevating their professional profiles through unique and exclusive opportunities.

after applications and interviews, five local fashion designers were selected to present a handful of pieces to the night’s judges and runway of guests with hopes to be picked as the winner.

it has been a while since i’ve sat along the runway at a fashion show, and it brought me right back to fond memories of being a budding fashionite in toronto sitting front row and drinking too much champagne. getting your photo taken for street style blogs never gets old. i still had no idea how to pose for a photo back then; at least my shoes were always great.

here are a few of my favourite pieces from each of the semi-finalists.

house of nonie

house of nonie

house of nonie 2

house of nonie 3


nikki babie

nikkieb 1

nikki b3

nikkib 2


kazz clothing






s.p. badu

badu 2

badu 1

badu 3



anii 1

anii 2

anii 3


and the winner is….



he, and other regional finalists UNTTLD and Beaufille will be joined by wildcard designers Leinad Beaudet, Narces and Laura Siegel at Toronto’s World MasterCard Fashion Week in October. they’ll participate in a group finale runway show where judges will choose one awarded designer. the awarded designer will then receive year-round intensive mentoring from the panel of experts, an editorial feature in FASHION Magazine, a fully produced solo runway show at World MasterCard Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2016 in march 2016, and a $30,000 bursary.

such a fantastic opportunity for the designer and a great way to support and nurture our local talent!

now, how do we make sure i’m sitting on that runway, too?

my personal-style winners of the right were house of nonie and aniimiism. i could see myself wearing numerous pieces of both collections straight off the runway. especially that tailored tuxedo coat, and fur shrug!

which designer is the winner for you?

foothills frenzy.

my scheming yesterday totally worked and i convinced a friend to wake up far too early on a sunday to nature walk with me in the foothills today.

i was super nice and showed up with starbucks and baked-by-me blueberry buttermilk muffins. i feel it’s the least i could do. plus, i’ll take any excuse to play motown and have a dance party in the kitchen.



my baking skills were repaid with willingness to take photos of me overlooking the mountains. it’s harder than you think to find people to take some photos. life is hard sometimes, guys.

we settled on the fullerton loop at bragg creek because it’s only 45 minutes out of the city, but still has some scenic views. i’m glad i didn’t go into the rockies, because the traffic getting back was supposedly a mess and i would have 100% been late for work. phew!

because we finished the 7.6km loop much faster than we thought, we came back into calgary and explored bowmont park in the northwest part of calgary that is along the northern bank of the bow river. there are dozens of bike and walking trails throughout the park; we explored for a few hours and still managed to leave huge parts of the trails untouched. there is always next time!

happiness is seeing the rocky mountains on a clear day.

what made you happy today?

dip in the ink pots.

i’m really missing the mountains today. so much so, i’m scheming to get out to the foothills tomorrow before work just so my soul gets a little piece of them. baby hikes still count as long as you’re in nature.

a few weeks back i took off to banff after one of my saturday shifts to hike johnston canyon to the ink pots.


if i can give one piece of advice, it would be to always hike with someone who has an interest and talent in taking great photos. even better if they know a thing or two about hiking.


thankfully my friend scott is both a photographer and a hiker. i hit the nature companion jackpot.

johnston canyon can be really busy to the lower falls since it is a flat, well manicured trail that is a kilometre from the trail head. there are boardwalks built on the side of the canyon that bring you straight to the first lookout point. you’ll often encounter tourists, baby strollers and wheelchairs. the path really isn’t wide enough for them in my opinion, but that doesn’t stop anyone.

from the lower falls, you then take a series of stairs and switchbacks another 1.5km to get to the upper falls. it’s not accessible for strollers and wheelchairs, but it’s still not too difficult so you’ll find a good amount of traffic.


from the upper falls, the ink pots are another 3 km up a moderate incline of switchbacks. the crowd really thins out here, and allows you to enjoy the hike and nature with your company.

we had both done johnston canyon to the lower and upper falls, but scott had never continued the hike to the ink pots, and i had only done it once before – two years ago when i was rather out of shape and my dad left me to huff and puff while he ran up the trails.


the majority of the trail to the ink pots is in the forest, but opens up into a gorgeous meadow housing the eight pools of blue/green water.

i’ll be honest with you: the ink pots are underwhelming. they sound fantastic don’t they? these magical pools of stunning coloured water? yes, they are pretty, but they are also smaller pools that can be murky or colourless.

what isn’t underwhelming is the meadow. the river runs along side the ink pots and you look out to a gorgeous mountain range.


i could have stayed in that meadow for hours looking out on the mountains. my heart is so happy in the mountains.

we stopped on a bench for a quick break and snack before heading back down before the sun set. it’s the same way down as it is up, so we took in the same scenery, but stopped at the falls for a few photos and said hello to the chipmunks and pikas we ran into.


i also forced scott to take this graffiti photo. peace and love and mountains.

it’s worth the 12km return hike as long as you keep your expectations low surrounding the ink pots.

photos by scott martin.

have you ever hiked johnston canyon or the ink pots?

tips for running your first spartan race.

let me start by saying while my body aches and my skin is cut and bruised, i am very much alive…though, i feel like i’m slowly dying.

secondly: i am sparta!

that’s right, this girl faced her overwhelming fear of running the spartan race, my first ever obstacle course race.


a full recap to come once i get photos from the course, but i wanted to pass along some tips for anyone considering a spartan race/ocr for the first time and is feeling terrified of the fact, because that’s where i was.

as i mentioned, this year accidentally became one of facing fears and conquering things that have terrified me. out of all of the things I’ve done so far in 2015, the spartan race was by far the scariest in my mind. i’m not in peak physical condition, i’ve never climbed over a wall – i had a play-it-safe childhood – and was (read: am) intimidated by those who are everything i’m not. for those reasons, spartan was the breeding ground of insecurity.


here’s what i wish i knew, or things i learned along the 5km+, 15-obstacle spartan sprint course:

  • if you have the choice, don’t run it in the pouring rain, or the day after a lot of people have run it in the pouring ran. sadly, Calgary didn’t have that choice. the hills of slick mud added further challenges and often stole shoes of competitors that did not tie their laces tight enough.
  • if you have them, or can afford to buy them, wear trail shoes or shoes that have a cleat/spike to them. they will get you up and down the hills much easier and let you tear through the mud.
  • compression everything. if you’re wearing something loose or cotton it is only going to get weighed down in the muddy water pits, and likely to catch in an obstacle.
  • ladies, learn how to do one of those fancy braid crowns. i had my hair piled on top of my head in an obnoxious pineapple, and got it caught on the barbed wire a few times.
  • if you are running the race alone, you’ll never actually be on your own. the support and community at the spartan was unlike anything i’ve experienced. it began even before i crossed the start line. while waiting for the race to begin, the woman beside me asked if i was running alone, when i said yes and that it was my first ocr, she offered to stick with me. and she meant it. every obstacle, every mud hill, there was Tara right by my side. i’m pretty confident that she is the reason i finished with as much sanity as i did. but even if you don’t have Tara, you’ll still have the kindest stranger offering to boost you up and over a wall, or support your butt while taking on the traverse wall. (my goodness was there butt touching! team no-personal-space.) or you’ll have the hottest, fittest, shirtless men offering high-fives and words of encouragement as they fly past you on the course.


  • know what you can’t do. for me, the rope climb was out of the question. i knew i wasn’t going to be able to get anywhere close to the top, so i didn’t bother wasting energy on an attempt knowing i was going to have to do 30 burpees anyway. conserve your energy.
  • that being said, if there is a chance you can conquer it: do it! no one likes burpees and they take up time. it will also allow you to surprise yourself. your body can do some great and challenging things.
  • take it seriously. the course can be challenging, and people will get hurt. there was a gentleman in front of me on the parallel bars that fell and injured his elbow/arm and withdrew from the race. there are opportunities across the entire course to injure yourself; that’s why you signed the death waiver.
  • bring a change of clothes, shoes and a towel. changing into your warm, dry clothes may be the happiest feeling you’ve ever experienced.


run a spartan race? what would you add to my list?