If you’ve been cooking three squares a day on the home front for the past few years, perhaps you haven’t noticed — Calgary has been caught up in a foodie revolution. A hot new eatery seems to open every month downtown, on 17th, in Inglewood or in other cool YYC hoods. And it’s not just culinary art that creates the experience — interior design is also a prime part of the food mood. So when I was invited to a panel discussion of four of Calgary’s busiest restaurant interior designers, moderated by Jennifer Hamilton of Avenue Magazine, I couldn’t resist.
On the left, Amanda Hamilton, who recently did the interior of Native Tongues, told us she’d loved restaurants ever since she was an Earl’s girl. Kate Allen, center, known for her work on Bridgette Bar, Model Milk and Anju, said, “At the start of a project, the designer should be mostly listening.”
Talk quickly turned to costs. For everyone who likes to blame the designer for going crazy with expensive details, Amanda said, “I think designers get a bad rap for blowing budgets.”
On the right, Sarah Ward (Nash, Proof, Cluck and Cleaver) credited Chef Michael Noble for changing her financial outlook on design. “Prior to working with him as designer, I didn’t realize the impact of how my design affected the bottom line. You have to be careful of applied costs down the road.”
Sally Healy (pictured below), the designer behind Our Daily Brett and the now-shuttered Borgo Trattoria and Capo, was quick to chime in: “It affects us too. Cuz if they go broke like some of my restaurants have…”
The boldest of the bunch, Sally’s the type of designer who can make you believe in a project from sheer force of personality. One of her top priorities when starting a new design? “You have to decide where the sex in the room is.”
“Once a client gives their wish list, I do have a pretty good idea of what it’s going to cost.”
Turn that frown upside down It’s been long and brutally cold winter in Calgary this year. As the calendar officially flips to spring tomorrow, the snow and ice here aren’t quite ready to leave . A recent house-bound week of -30 temps makes me want to flee to Hawaii, but too many work commitments mean sifting through old vacation photos instead. With a long-term outlook that calls for more chilly days ahead, my personal level of optimism matches the temperature.
For a little spring training in harnessing the power of positivity, I turned to Dr. Sanam Hafeez, who frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz. She’s a NYC-based licensed clinical psychologist and teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College. These are her suggestions for turning that frown upside down.
“Keep a daily appreciation or gratitude journal. When you focus on all the things to be happy for in your life, then more great things come. Think generally. Use your senses. What do you appreciate seeing, smelling, touching, tasting, listening to? Write it down. Within a few weeks you’ll train the mind to pivot to an appreciate thought when a negative thought comes,” explains Dr. Hafeez.2. Make plans.
Making plans to see relatives, a new exhibit or to travel gets our mind moving forward, toward something positive that we can be hopeful and optimistic about. Dr. Hafeez suggests making plans to do 3 things per month for the next 3 months. “Choose things that you know will bring you joy and then go do them! Feeling excited about what is coming and talking about how fun it will be keeps us optimistic,” says Dr. Hafeez.3. Control what you can, delegate the rest!
We get pessimistic and worry about the worst possible outcomes when we realize that we can’t control every detail. This leads to anxiety and an even stronger feeling of having to control conditions, and even others. According to Dr. Hafeez, this is a trap. “Figure out what needs to get done. What actions you can take. Then let go of anything else that is beyond your control with faith that everything will turn out fine. Envision the desired outcome,” advises Dr. Hafeez.4. Limit your news watching and avoid it before bed.
“There is a very common pattern I see people falling into,” says Hafeez. “People awaken and immediately reach for their smartphone for headlines. They then turn on the TV news as background noise. They listen to news in their cars, have news alerts going off on their phones all day, catch the evening news and then the 11pm news before bed. No wonder they’re less optimistic! What you choose to look at will impact your mood. Remember, good news doesn’t get ratings,” she adds.5. Don’t snooze. Instead, just breathe.
When the alarm goes off give yourself a few minutes to just lie there, eyes closed focused on your breathing. Breathe in counting to 4 and then breathe out. Do a mental scan of your entire body from head to toe thanking your cells for restoring you as you slept. “Deep breathing is a form of meditation and in the morning, you have a small window of opportunity to decide what kind of day you want it to be,” says Dr. Hafeez.6. Distract yourself with something that requires focus.
Pick something you truly enjoy doing and do it daily. It can be painting, coloring, yoga, a 20-minute walk or jog, listening to music and dancing around your living room. “When you are fully engaged in something, you can’t ruminate — which leads to pessimism,” explains Dr. Hafeez.7. Make feeling good top priority.
When you commit to feeling good, you instantly start to think more optimistically. According to Dr. Hafeez, when you’re mindful of your own negativity and shift to a better feeling – positive thought – you feel powerful. You’ll feel like you can conquer anything when you can master your own mindset.
Sounds like a recipe for springing into spring! I’m going to try these tips on for size. You?
Kensington was the style destination today for designer Aleem Arif, who stopped by Kismet Clothing boutique to offer a sneak peek at his spring collection. But despite the fact that his leather label Bano eeMee uses 100% sustainable, vegetable-tanned leather, there’s no silver lining here. That’s because Aleem amps up his linings with images, either inspired by his travels or collabs with other artists.
Bano eeMee is the brainchild of Boston-raised banker Aleem Arif, whose label is a hybrid of his mom’s name, Bano, and his nickname, eeMee. Formerly an algorithmic stock trader, he moved to Calgary and discovered his passion was actually fashion. Who says Calgary is all about Stampede? Bano eeMee is now based in Toronto, with supple lamb leather jackets in 30 stores across Canada. Oh, and Galeries Lafayette is pressuring Aleem to do a special line in Paris.PR powerhouse Ellen Parker wore her own Bano eeMee jacket from last season, but this jacket won’t be her last Bano eeMee.Yes, Ellen. Get this one.
Spring and Summer look fabulous, Aleem! Glad to have you back in YYC, even if it’s just a quick jet set. Although I’m predicting that your visit will be more stylish than social: us high-fashion Calgarians will inspire your fall collection.
When you book Mara Boaru for your massage, you’re in for a holistically good time. When the physio therapist emigrated from Romania, her creds didn’t impress Canuck authorities — she’d have to upgrade for the official Canadian PT designation, a masters degree. The delay was unfortunate for her, but lucky for her customers — because she got her RMT diploma to tide her over, allowing her to work while studying her first love, all over again.
The result? She is one of the rare physio therapists who is also massage therapist. And vice versa! It means she takes a holistic approach to physio, rather than just treating one part.
Which means she’ll fit in perfectly with the 50+ holistic professionals and teachers at the new Awaken Holistic Health and Wellness, slated to open spring 2016, with a pile of classes, including yoga, fitness and nutrition, health services, and… a float pod room.
They just launched a crowdfunding campaign to raising funds for their wellness centre. Check out the goodies they’re offering to entice your pledge. The 60 minute service of your choice for $70 is a hot deal, and I have a hot tip to go with it: choose a massage. With Mara. Amazing.
Wordfest is back, and with it, one of my favorite nights of raucous, intellectual battle: Literary Death Match. If you don’t have your tickets yet, get them now: LDM is back in Calgary for the third time tomorrow night. To celebrate the upcoming war of words with ensuing hostile hilarity, I am reposting my interview with host Adrian Todd Zuniga on his “Deadly Style” from his last visit to Cowtown.
“What is going to be healthy and delicious, and also make me happy?”The host of Literary Death Match is starving. Maybe not quite to death, but definitely in that just-got-off-a-plane and made-it-through-customs kind of way. Yet Adrian Todd Zuniga is not the type to order off a menu without some intense Q&A.
I get it. We’ve met at Joey’s Eau Claire, just around the corner from the Westin, the Wordfest hotel of choice, so I can do some grilling of my own. Once Adrian finishes his blackened basa, I want to know — what will he be wearing tonight as 4 authors face off onstage?A cornflower blue suit. Of course.
Literary Death Match is a traveling word circus. With Adrian as its ringmaster, no staid, snooze-inducing readings are allowed on his world stage. The show, which visits dozens of cities a year, is Def Poetry Jam meets American Idol (minus the meanness) meets Double Dare.
The Los Angeles-residing, Missouri-born author and screenwriter created LDM eight years ago. This is his second visit to Calgary. Being a man of style, he abhors being seen in the same outfit twice.
“I rotate through suits. It’s very important for me not to wear the same thing in the same city. It would be lame.”Last year Adrian wore a red velvet smoking jacket, which bookended nicely with 2013 competitor Todd Babiak, no slouch in the wardrobe department himself. See my style feature on Todd here.
Besides making sure he didn’t lame out with a suit repeat, Adrian didn’t feel comfortable wearing a bow tie back-to-back with his last appearance in Calgary. Also important to note: “I don’t wear bow ties on dates. I think it’s too much of a statement. I think I’m a more subtle gentleman on that front. But I do wear suit jackets to pretty much everything.”Even while our interview cuts into his pre-show quiet time, he has the rumpled flair of someone out of a Robert Doisneau photograph.
Like “The Kiss” sans a girl to kiss. Which is confirmed when Adrian volunteers, apropos of nothing, “I haven’t kissed a girl in Calgary yet.” Later that night, onstage, he mentions he is single.The downside of his fashion daring can have drawbacks. Like when he told his friends his new suit was the ultimate in Don Draper. They said, ‘You mean the Pete Campbell suit?’
Luckily, the Sterling Cooper doppelganger apparel on stage at the GRAND couldn’t derail the momentum of the 2014 Death Match. In fact, the cornflower shine only added to the intrigue of authors Michael Crummey, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Alison Pick and Matthew Thomas being rated on literary merit, performance and intangibles.
LDM is normally judged by a panel of three, but the only way to compensate for a last-minute cancellation by Mayor Nenshi was to bring in two backups. From left to right at the black table: comedian Chris Gordon, author Carrie Shyder, Olympic hero Mark Tewksbury and author Johanna Skibsrud. I will totally name favorites: even though Mark claimed he wasn’t a literature type, the author of three books was hilarious and enthusiastic. Ginger Jesus, aka Chris Gordon, was a close second, and as he made very clear, sponsored by Hudson’s Bay.
The evening ended in a race to ring the bell, to identify classics from one-star Amazon ratings. Lone stars, as Adrian aptly put it.
Don’t worry, Adrian, I’m not taking it personally. And thanks for this candid with the cows, by the way.
It’s cool when your photos get noticed. It’s even cooler when a publication asks your permission before it uses them, and offers to pay. This candid I shot while chatting with Jimmy Pattison (about his big Christmas tree star in the BPs, among other things) at the opening of Nordstrom Calgary caught the eye of Canadian Business Magazine…… who enlisted illustrator Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo to adapt it for an October 2nd story by Jim Sutherland, who was my first editor ever during the old Vancouver Magazine days. Nice story, Jim! And awesome illustration, Alvaro! Although I was digging the lavender plaid Jimmy was going with in the photo. He has some stylish moves, many of them tartan.Ripping stuff from the ol’ Interwebs has become so pervasive that many peeps out there don’t seem to realize that the person (or organization) who worked hard to create that content owns it. I appreciate it when credit is given where it is due. Like with my photo of this vehicle wrap on the streets of Calgary, to stick with the tartan topic. It resonated with super-cool British artist and author Toby Leigh, who’s so obsessed with fake Burberry he’s publishing a book on it. And of course, I support that! Delighted that my pic will be included, Toby. Especially because you asked.
Have you ever walked into a show home kitchen and fantasized about using the fantastic new appliances? Perhaps at this Albi Home, in Artesia at Heritage Point? Recently, Artesia invited Chef Paul Rogalski to do just that. But being co-owner of the world-renowned Rouge Restaurant, he took it up a notch…… turning a cooking demo into a kitchen party.I’ve seen a few ginormous island kitchen islands recently, and it always makes me wonder how you wipe the crumbs off (with a Swiffer?) but Chef Paul knew exactly what to do with the space.
In between showcasing cooking techniques for Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup, Duck A L’Orange and Tangled Beef Flank in Sherry Vinaigrette…Chef Paul dished on how to slice and dice an onion to achieve the perfect Big Mac garnish. Surprisingly it involved tossing almost half away. And yes, this award-winning chef and master of modern French cooking referenced McDonalds. Someone give this guy a reality show — quick!
Between courses, guests spilled out of the kitchen, into the super-wide entrance hallway. Tanya Puka of Anstice Communications flashes her pearly whites at the camera. On her right, Carolina Oxtoby, President and CEO of Heritage Pointe Properties and Heritage Point Golf Club. And in the glasses, Brad McMeekin, President of Skyline Construction. All well-versed in the art of being an Alberta houseguest: shoes off!A belle who busted her way through the doors of the developer boys’ club, Carolina is the woman who helped to make this luxurious neighborhood happen. Years before Calgary’s bedroom communities had sprawled anywhere near southern city limits, Carolina was trudging through fields and knocking on farmer’s doors. By 1989 she’d helped to amass 1000 acres for the Heritage Pointe community and matching golf course in De Winton — south of the “deep south,” as they like to say round these here parts. Artesia at Heritage Pointe followed.
While Chef Paul continued to slave over a hot, never-touched-before stove, Carolina told me how sustainability was a priority for her, especially water management. Heritage Pointe Properties uses grey water to maintain the landscaping.Sustainability continued indoors, with party guests thriving on champagne and Chef Paul’s delicious eats. What a great night!
The dress rehearsal last night for Cirque du Soleil’s 35th production, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities, was disguised as opening night. Crowds of kids, and the occasional woman wearing her best circus high heels, trekked through the Stampede grounds to get to Parking Lot 6, now home to a 62-foot Big Top that seats 2700 people.Inside, the media had the best seats in the Top. This official media preview was the only opportunity to film the entire performance during its run in Calgary. I don’t have a big boy lens like these photogs, but my little Canon EOS Rebel SL1 managed to make it through.And thank goodness, because I was right there, front and center. Close enough to touch the stage. And get bumped by people using that fold-down stairway to the left. However, since Cirque performers are -ahem- highly skilled professionals, that never happened.From my vantage point, I could almost tell the thread-count in the juggler’s pants. Costume Designer Philippe Guillotel’s genius influenced all the couture, including the shoes. Meanwhile, every performer does their own makeup before the show. Sounds like my old Action News days in Cleveland. Except I didn’t have to paint on these brilliant masks concocted by Makeup Designer Eleni Uranis.The contortionists had another look entirely. The frilly edges along their sinewy limbs, reminded me of the koi I have been obsessing about lately.From the social media files: I hashtagged “Circus” on my Instagram account last night. It lead to a whole new world of “likes” from contortionists, a group of people I haven’t had much interaction with. Turns out that they are far from freakish — just an ultra-sexy breed of humans. Writer/Director Michel Laprise worked with Madonna on her Super Bowl performance and her MDNA tour, so the Cirque concoction of outlandish-sensual-dance-gymnast-artist-feast-for-the-eyes-and-ears all makes sense.
But it was a lady of minimal movement who entranced me the most.Antanina Satsura plays Mini Lili. In classic trippy Cirque style, she represents another character’s unconscious mind and intuitive self. In real life, the 60-year-old Belorussian refers to herself as a proportionate dwarf. One of the 10 smallest people in the world, she may be only 3.2 feet tall and 39 pounds, but she is a powerhouse on stage.Speaking of the stage, this balancing artist flew high above it –and me– just to take his jacket off.I love how Cirque du Soleil characters always have time to appreciate an outstanding performance. If I’d had time for a narcissistic moment, my selfie would have had the same expression…… while watching these aerial acrobatics! The strongman is a human trapeze.The musicians are also up in the rafters — if a Big Top has rafters. That’s Michael Levin, linking daredevil with the word cello. Most cellists I’ve seen tend to play the instrument much closer to the ground, while seated.Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS runs until May 24 in Calgary, with a special VIP opening tonight. I’m thrilled to say I’ll be there. See you tonight, KURIOS!
Heard of Jennifer Carlson of Baby Gourmet? The million-dollar mom who mixed her organic baby foods from the Calgary Farmers Market into the entrepreneurial stratosphere wants to tell us how to take a bright idea into a big brand. And presumably how to identify the next niche-preneur arena, since the mom-preneur cup appeareth to be full.
Her appearance at the Westin kicks off the Spring 2015 Women of Influence evening series on March 10. I’ve met great people at these events before, so I’m going to check it out. Plus I fully support the savvy target marketing by WOI — ticket prices include wine, appies and swag bag.