Tag Archives: Calgary

Slipping, bailing and swallowing pride on Calgary’s icy sidewalks and slick lobbies

30 Nov

One day a couple of weeks ago, I wore my favourite pair of heels to work. They’re high and grey. That same day, Mother Nature decided to wear white; she dumped loads of snow. Heading to work, I navigated the slick sidewalks just fine. Trouble struck, however, later that morning in the lobby of the Suncor building.

On my way to meet someone for coffee, my right heel hit a wet patch on the floor. I bailed hard. The best part? All 20 people in line at Starbucks witnessed the fall.

Sitting in a pile on the floor, the only thing I could think of was Dane Cook‘s skit about watching a guy get hit by a car. The guy is too embarrassed to accept help or even admit anything happened. As Dane says, “He’s trying to play it off like he didn’t just get hit by a car!”

Back to me sitting there. I didn’t want to be trying to play it off like I didn’t just bail. So, I looked at the lineup of people behind me and said something along the lines of, “Wow, that was smooth.”

No one asked if I was alright, aside from the security guard who was sitting at a nearby booth. But, that’s his job, right? Our convo went like this:

Him: Miss, are you okay?

Me: Yes, I’m fine, thanks.

My pride: OUCH!

Since then, I’ve been witness to a handful of wipeouts. There was the girl who fell while crossing the street in front of Classic Jack’s on 17th Ave. There was the guy who spilled his Tim Horton’s coffee…as soon as he walked out the door. And then there was Sam, who fell while running from the hot tub to our hotel room in Banff. (Hers was the most spectacular, as it was minus 30, she was wearing a bikini and winter boots, and she went skidding down a hill.)

I have to say, I reacted differently to every fall. I said “oooohhhhh,” “that sucks!” and “hahahahahahahahaha,” respectively.

My question is: how do you react when you see someone wipeout on our city streets? Let’s have a poll and see what the masses say:


p.s. Any tips on how to recover if you’re the one who bailed?


Dear Santa, from Michelle

25 Nov

Santa, Christmas is one month away, as I’m sure you’re well aware. I’m also pretty certain I’ve landed a spot on your “Nice” list, because I have not been naughty this year. (Aside from that time in Rio de Janeiro, but I read your code of conduct, which states, “Naughtiness does not count if you’re on vacation in another continent. Especially if you’re single.”)

You’ve been very good to me in years past. For that, I send you much love. (Please pass that on to the Mrs. and the rest of the crew, as well.)

But, right now I’m also sending you something else: my 2010 Christmas wish list.

I won’t bother listing the regular items you so thoughtfully include every year, things like Toffifee candy and socks. No, this year I’m cutting right to the chase. Without further ado, here are the five things I’m dreaming of most: (Of course, these are aside from my standard dreams, which include a white Christmas, world peace and a date with Ryan Gosling.)

A KitchenAid stand mixer from the Custom Metallic Series. Should you deliver this to my Christmas tree, I promise to use the mixer next Christmas to whip up a batch of those milk chocolate chip cookies you adore.

This first-layer thermal underwear from Burton, called the Luxury Midweight Crew and Pant, will keep me warm when I’m downhill or cross-country skiing.

Long underwear seems like a practical request, doesn’t it, Santa? Good. Because next up on my ultimate wish list is something that falls more on the “want” than the “need” side of things. This David Yurman beauty, called the Moonlight Ice Ring with a prasiolite stone, blows my mind. If you shimmy down the chimney with this ring in your pocket, I promise to be a good girl for the rest of my life. Even when I’m single and visiting another continent.

I know you don’t like buying clothes for people, Santa. I get it — sizing is tricky. But I’m going to make this easy for you. Rich and Skinny Jeans, my favourite denim brand, has a cargo legging pant that I need, I can’t live without. So, here’s what you need to know about the pants: They’re called the Cargo Legging by Rich and Skinny. Holt Renfrew carries them. I like them in Dark Olive or Dark Moss. I’m size 26. And every time I wear them, I’ll think fondly of the Clauses.

Last but not least, I’m moving into a new apartment in December and could really use some help stocking my shelves with essentials. Like wine. If you were to wrap up a bottle or two — or *fingers crossed* a whole case — of my favourite white, Evolution, I’d be thrilled. And I’d certainly open a bottle up stat and make a toast in your honour.

That about covers my ultimate Christmas wish list, Santa, so thanks for your time and attention. I’m sure you’ll make some stellar choices this year.

But really, as long as I don’t wake up to this stocking on Christmas morning, I’ll be one happy girl:


Michelle xo

Bathroom stall wisdom at Local 510

4 Nov

A couple of months back, I was sitting at one of my favourite watering holes in Calgary, Local 510. It was not, however, one of my favourite evenings. Things were not so hunky dory with the man friend I was dating, and we were having a serious conversation while sitting at the wood. He drank beer. I drank wine, and felt sorry for myself.

I’ll spare you the details, but I ended up excusing myself to use the washroom. A little moment to myself would do me good, I thought. I shut the bathroom stall door and just stood there. And then, I noticed it: one simple handwritten sentence on the top of the toilet paper dispenser.

“Never regret anything because at one time it was exactly what you wanted.”

I stared at it for a second. It kind of felt like God was talking to me, right there in the Local 510 bathroom stall. Okay, it wasn’t God; it was probably an 18-year-old girl who was half-cut and on her way out the door for a smoke. But the message felt like it appeared at just the right time.

I’m not sure why, but the words calmed me down. They reminded me that I’d made the choices to get me here. That I’d continue to choose and to steer my life in the direction I know I’m heading. And that I shouldn’t regret a single thing.

I was back at Local 510 last weekend (tip: try the meatloaf — it’s amazing). Time has passed and things have changed in my life. When I ventured downstairs to the bathroom, I wondered if the tidbit would still be there. It was, and it made me smile.



Running Calgary’s bridges

21 Oct

We love Calgary, our western city. Why? The reasons are many, but here are a few: It’s filled with amazing people. It’s close to the Rocky mountains. And it’s buzzing with energy this week after a too-close-to-call civic election, in which we elected a new young, smart and driven mayor, named Naheed Nenshi.

One of the things we love best about Calgary? The excellent running paths.

Some of our favourite paths run alongside two rivers that criss-cross throughout the city, the Bow and the Elbow. And we’re not the only ones who make use of them; in the morning, at lunch and in the evening, the pathways are usually packed with runners, walkers and bikers. (We were at a Sheryl Crow concert here a couple of years ago and Sheryl, an uber fit rocker, said she’d never seen so many people outside exercising on their lunch hour.)

Yesterday, we took advantage of a lovely October day — an oxymoron in Calgary? hey, we never said we adore the weather here — and went for a run along the Bow.

We consider it a run of bridges, because, at any point in the run, a bridge is either close behind or just ahead of you. We love it because it means endless options for turnaround points. Here are just a couple of them.

And the views aren’t too shabby either.

Fingers crossed the good weather holds out for a while. But when it turns ugly, don’t worry about us. We’ll make it through — we may have just bought new running toques to help us cope.

(Hey, a girl needs a toque for every occasion.)

Vodka + Clam Broth + Tomato Juice = Happiness in a Glass

27 Jul
Try this at home, kids.

It’s salty. It’s spicy. And it’s uniquely Canadian. Friends, meet the Caesar.

We Toque Girls adore this cocktail. It’s a perfect beverage for those hot summer nights. (Who’s kidding who? It’s perfect for those hot summer days. Sometimes even those hot summer brunches, when we’re feeling naughty.)

While all Canadians enjoy this beverage, we are proud to say it was invented in Calgary — the lovely western city we Toque Girls call home. How’d it come to be? In 1969, a creative (and brave) Calgary bartender decided to mix tomato juice with mashed clams. Next, he added vodka, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce.

Sound tricky? Fret not, thirsty friends. Today, mixing up a Caesar is a simple endeavour, especially since Mott’s offers Clamato juice — the perfect blend of tomato and clam — everywhere in Canada and in the U.S., as well.

Now, we Toque Girls plan on hunting down the best Caesar in town — stay tuned for our adventures in securing that recipe! — so till then, give this recipe a whirl. (We found it at freedrinkrecipes.com.)

World’s Best Caesar

  • 1 1/2 oz. vodka
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash of Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon horseradish or more (This is our fave secret ingredient.)
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • Mott’s Clamato juice
  • Celery salt

Rim your glass with celery salt. Add all other ingredients over lots of ice and stir well.

To add your own flair, get creative with the garnishes and spices. We Toque Girls heart olives and pickled asparagus in our Caesars, but the classic garnish is a celery stalk.

And if you’re ordering this drink at a bar, be it in Canada or anywhere else, heed this advice:

  • Don’t ask for a “Bloody Caesar.” This is a clear indication you’re a newbie, as you’re confusing the Bloody Mary cocktail — a poor man’s Caesar, in our humble opinion — with the Mighty Caesar.
  • Ask for yours “muddy.” The bartender will nod, add another dash of Worcestershire sauce and you’ll be on your happy Caesar way.

Five Random Questions for Lara Presber

27 Jul

Courtesy of Lara Presber

When we first started writing about Lara Presber and how we coveted her unique and lovely clothing, we had never crossed paths with her.  That all changed last December, when we met Lara at a mutual friend’s Christmas party. We discussed style. Cocktails. Men. And a beautiful friendship was born.

With the clothing line that bears her own name, the Calgary-based designer combines her love for both architecture and fashion design – she has degrees in both – by using buildings from around the globe to inspire her collections.

We caught up with Lara over the phone, while she was manning the fort at her very own boutique in Calgary’s Fashion Central.

So, without further ado, here are our Five Random Questions for Lara Presber:

What’s your go-to summertime look?

I have a lot, but I think the overall theme of the summer has been neutrals. Every single crazy pair of shoes I have in my closet that I haven’t been able to wear, I’m wearing because they go with everything. I have a blush-coloured, bias-cut dress (of my own design) that I’m wearing a lot. You can wear blue shoes or yellow shoes or whatever you want with it.

Come fall, what can we expect to see in your store?

You know how I use a building each season to inspire each season. Well, the building for fall is the Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo. It’s interesting because you have all these grey concrete cubes that are stacked. Every single one of them has a different coloured curtain. I thought it would be really fun to make a whole bunch of really simple greys – a grey trouser, a grey dress – and then make a bunch of fun coloured accessories to layer over top, so I have some belts and vests and stuff like that.

Nakagin Capsule Tower

What did you have for dinner last night?

I went to The Palomino (Smokehouse). Don’t make me admit it! I had red meat and beer. It’s so redneck!

What’s your favourite thing about Canadian fashion?

I love working in the Canadian fashion industry because I love that everyone here is so open and willing to help each other. That hasn’t existed anywhere else I’ve worked.

Are you into wearing toques?

I don’t really have any, but they’re okay. They’re cute. Actually, I do have some cute ones. I just don’t wear them very often, because I’m vain about having good hair when I get to work.

** A note from the Toque Girls: It’s true, readers. Toques can flatten your hair. Alternatively, if you already have flat hair, they can save your life.

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