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MEET: THE RIDE YYC

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As an inner city dweller, I often rely on taxis or public transportation to get around. While we do have a car and a Car2Go membership, sometimes these convenient options are the easiest methods of transport – especially when I am on my way out to an event or playdate with friends. When I first heard about The Ride, I was so excited to find an app that allowed me to check out ALL of my options before I made a decision about which mode of transport I would use.

Available across Canada, The Ride just launched in Calgary and I couldn’t be more pleased to share the news. This multi-purpose app helps you plan your route using taxis, Car2Go and public transportation. Even better it actually allows you to contrast and compare each option – which is very helpful when you are considering factors like time, cost and safety. One of the great things about the app is that you can e-hail a cab straight from the app and watch it’s ETA in real-time on the map. The Ride charges a convenience fee of $2 for e-hailing or $1 for connecting you to live dispatch if e-hailing isn’t in your area yet.

I recently moved to a new neighbourhood so figuring out my new routes has definitely been very helpful with The Ride. Even if I’m not booking a taxi immediately – it still allows me to take a poke around on the map and figure out my plan. I find it very helpful to use when I am heading home after date night or a night out with my girlfriends.

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For payment of the fare when using a taxi, you choose how to pay the driver, either cash or credit. And coming soon – you’ll be able to pay within the app with your stored credit card! Super exciting – I love the idea being able to pay automatically from the app.

Anyways, if you haven’t already downloaded the app, you can get it here. My unique promo code is RideWithKait – When you download the app and use that promo code within the app you’ll get 1 free credit. And just so you know, in the first 30 days after downloading The Ride all convenience fees are waived ($2 to e-hail) – so the 1 free credit = 1 free e-hail which you can use after the first 30 days. Have a great ride!

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This is a sponsored post in partnership with The Ride and all words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep The Archives of Cool going with fresh content every day.

DAILY STYLE

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Couldn’t resist going for a stroll in our new neighbourhood today to grab coffee with our BFF Lori, @theoriginal10cent. The weather has been unbelievable for March in Calgary. As you can see below, we are already getting green grass at our house! Looking forward to a great weekend with warmer temps, settling in to our new place and spending time with family and friends. ♥♥♥

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What I’m Wearing: Ted Baker Black Trench (similar here) ♥ Banana Republic Grey Marl Tunic Top (similar here) ♥ Gap Girlfriend JeansOak + Fort Leather Slingbacks ♥ Gap Yellow Leather Tote ♥ Karen Walker Northern Lights Sunglasses

What He’s Wearing: “Vintage” Camp Brand Goods Happy Camper Toddler Tee ♥ Zara Knit Sweater ♥ Black Shearling Pea Coat (Man of Distinction) ♥ Zara Tan Triangle Pants (similar here) ♥ Old Navy Shearling Boots ♥ Faux Wood Wayfarers (Toys R Us)♥ Bugaboo Cameleon

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Photos by Lori Andrews 

HOT COFFEE: 5 YEG COFFEE SHOPS HITTING THE MARK

It is no secret that I love a good cup of coffee. Here in Calgary, I seek it out from the best in town – my favourites being Monogram Coffee Co, Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters and Analog Coffee. That being said, I’ve been known to drink instant coffee and can be found frequenting my neighbourhood Starbucks (their gluten-free marshmallow dream bars are SO good, sue me!). I like to call my coffee palette a nice balance of high-low taste; just like how I might wear designer shoes with Gap jeans. It is just how I roll.

Anyways, on a recent trip to Edmonton I re-discovered my love of truly incredible coffee thanks to their high-level offerings. Seriously, how did I not know about Edmonton’s coffee scene until just recently. While researching coffee shops to visit, I was overwhelmed with choices and recommendations – each one sounding better than the rest.

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The weekend ended up being a seriously caffeine-fueled adventure leaving me with withdrawals symptoms for the entire week after. I went with my friend Lori Andrews (aka @theoriginal10cent) who is known for her #needscoffee series on Instagram. It was incredibly fitting that we took this journey together. I discovered five amazing coffee shops (plus one cafe that has the BEST chai in town) and I can’t wait to share my findings with you. If you are a coffee aficionado then I highly recommend booking a weekend (we stayed at the Matrix Hotel) and touring as many coffee shops as you can – we didn’t even make it to all of the ones we wanted to check out!

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Transcend Mercer Cafe: I had originally heard about Transcend from the guys at Monogram Coffee; their beans are roasted by Transcend. I knew it was going to be great before we even got there. The cafe is located in the Mercer Warehouse building (home of Rostizado!) and is a sweet and humble spot complete with exposed wooden ceilings and minimalist decor. The baristas were friendly and happily gave us some more recommendations. They also had some excellent gluten-free baked goods that we enjoyed with our Americanos. As we sipped our coffee we wandered through Vacancy Hall, a self-proclaimed space for creators. It was really inspiring to see so many entrepreneurs and small business owners in one place. Edmonton really has a strong community for start-ups and entrepreneurial support. 10359 B – 104 Street (Lower Level)

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Coffee Bureau: Coffee Bureau came highly recommended as THE best place to get a cup of coffee in YEG. We just happened to wander past it on our way to dinner the first night we were in town – it immediately caught my eye with their great signage (which was unfortunately vandalized recently). The next morning we made it our mission to go there first and we were pleasantly greeted by the owners. This tiny cafe is absolutely charming and we instantly fell in love with the entire place. It was definitely my favourite spot on the whole tour and I kinda wish they could clone it and bring it to Calgary. Their name is inspired by the Pan-American Coffee Bureau who came up with the concept of the coffee break in 1952. I found a bit more information about the history of the coffee break here10505 Jasper Ave

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Little Brick: After touring Pura Botanicals (more about this in an upcoming post!), owner Lane Edwards sent us to Little Brick to try their amazing bourbon-infused vanilla latte. I am so glad she did. Little Brick is a quaint brick converted historic home located in Edmonton’s Riverdale community. When we were trying to find it we weren’t sure we were in the right place because it seemed to be completely surrounded by residential houses and townhouses. Little Brick was definitely a treat and I can see why so many Edmontonians pop in there on the regular for coffee, lunch or to shop in their adorable General Store. 10004 90 Street SW

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Barking Buffalo Cafe: Located in a shared space with the adorable indie boutique Salgado Fenwick, Barking Buffalo Cafe is a charming spot to grab a great cup of coffee and bask in the creativy energy of the space. I ordered an Almond Milk Latte (they had a great selection of non-dairy milks on hand) that was brewed with Pilot Coffee from Toronto. Plenty of bites to eat on hand, I’ve heard really great things about Bloom Cookie Co which makes vegan cookies. Salgado Fenwick is the perfect spot to browse while you sip your coffee – it will be hard to leave without spending some cash on some locally made art or designed clothing!  10824 124 Street

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Iconoclast Coffee: We didn’t actually make it to Iconoclast during our coffee tour because they were closed for renovation. Lori had visited on her last trip to Edmonton and had a great time. Not only is the interior of the coffee shop very cool but they also have their roastery on site. If you live in Edmonton they actually offer free home delivery of beans – what a great service to offer to your loyal clients. They also offer lots of great craft beer events and activities – because if you love great coffee why wouldn’t you love great beer as well?! 11807B 105 Avenue

Chai Latte Award! 

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Remedy Cafe: Last but not least, I had to include the delightful Remedy Cafe in downtown Edmonton (they have five locations in total). Several people had recommended we pop in and we were pleasantly surprised by the amazing gluten-free menu as well as the epic chai lattes that they offer up. The Kashmiri Chai Latte was incredible – soft and floral, the latte is made with a splash of rose water and is topped with rose petals and crushed pistachios. The combination of flavours is pretty mind-blowing and goes perfectly with their delicious Indian food menu. Beyond the delicious vegan/gluten-free/dairy-free Indian food options, they also have tons of great baked goods like gluten-free cakes and tarts. It is literally a dream for anyone with dietary concerns! 10279 Jasper Avenue

In partnership with Travel Alberta. Follow their amazing Instagram adventures at @travelalberta

Coffee Bureau photos by Lori Andrews // Iconoclast Coffee photos courtesy of Iconoclast           

A COLOR STORY

Have you heard about A Color Story? It is this amazing new photo app (created by the ultra talented folks over at ABM) that allows you to edit your photos in a brand new way. It only launched in the middle of January and it has already revolutionized the way I am editing my photos. Honestly, I’m having way too much fun with it and it has allowed me to be more free and imperfect with my Instagram photos – the way Instagram was when we all first fell in love with it.

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This app is amazing for selfies and portraits because the filters make your skin look absolutely flawless – without having to set-up a whole lighting scenario. I’ve been able to take dimly lit photographs and turn it into something that looks like it was professionally lit. I highly recommend it for food photographs – you can make all of those yummy ingredients pop off the screen. And as you can see below, it works GREAT on horses.

I wanted to share some of my favourite filters and techniques that I’ve fallen in love with so I partnered up with my photographer BFF Lori Andrews to show how fun it can be to play with this ultra creative app. We both love a timeless aesthetic with a twist of quirk so I feel like her gorgeous photograph of one of her family horses was the perfect application to test A Color Story on. And let me tell you from personal experience, these adorable horses are absolutely darling. The app has over 100 filters, 30+ effects, 20+ tools and the option to create and save your own custom filters – can anything be better for people who are constantly experimenting with new ways to present their photos?!

The Original

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Summer of 59, Flare 14

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Black Lodge, Rose

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Blue Skies, Cool & Bright

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Chroma, Catwalk at 60%, Rose Gold 25%, Moody 75%, Color Fod Orange, Color Fog Blush

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Contrast 92%, Effect Flare 7 100%, Effect Leak 3 49%, Effect Mint Color Fog 4%

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Photo by Lori Andrews, The Original 10 Cent Designer

ROMANCE ON THE ISLAND

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One of my favourite cities in the world, Victoria BC, was just named the Most Romantic City in Canada by Amazon.ca. This is the fourth year in a row that Victoria has snagged the top spot.

This seventh annual ranking by Amazon.ca was compiled by comparing sales data from January 1, 2015 to January 1, 2016 on a per capita basis in cities with more than 80,000 residents. The data is based on purchases that included romance novels and relationships books (Kindle books and print books), romantic comedies, romantic tunes and sexual wellness products.

I’m not really surprised with this result however – I think that Victoria is an incredibly romantic city. With beautiful views of the water surrounding the city, gorgeous flower-filled parks and charming historic architecture everywhere you look, walking around Victoria feels like a little taste of Europe right here in Canada. One of the most romantic spots I’ve stayed in Victoria is the Magnolia Hotel & Spa. Perched on Courtenay Street right in the heart of Victoria’s downtown, Magnolia boasts gorgeous views of the harbour and the historic parliament buildings. And it is literally in walking distance from just about everything so you can pop out for cocktails or dinner and be back in time for your luxury bath experience.

Let me tell you – there is nothing better than getting in your comfy white robe, turning on the fireplace and enjoying a glass of wine while looking out at the lights of the city. One of my favourite parts of staying at the Magnolia is the personal touch they add to your stay. You can customize just about everything – so if you are surprising someone for Valentine’s Day you can ask them to have a bottle of bubbly ready and waiting for your arrival!

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Living in Calgary, Victoria is the perfect last minute getaway. The flight is only around an hour long so you can start your holiday immediately! And huge bonus: according to Instagram – the cherry blossoms are already starting to bloom in Victoria so it is also the perfect excuse to escape winter for the moment.

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The Magnolia Hotel & Spa is inviting guests to fall in love with Victoria and rediscover romance on a retreat for two. Enjoy a bottle of prosecco in-room, a fragrant bubble bath with Magnolia’s new local amenity line Salt Spring Soapworks (including a mini whisk to make picture-perfect bubbles – hello Instagram!), chocolate truffles and the guidance of a Romance Concierge to plan an enchanting weekend in Victoria. Whether guests are looking for a horse-drawn carriage ride, flowers in the room on arrival, a pampered spa experience, or dinner for two at a top-rated restaurant in Victoria, the romance concierge is there to help customize your romantic getaway and to ensure it is extra special. The Romancing Victoria Package starts at $239 and includes breakfast for two! Doesn’t Romance Concierge sound like the best job ever?

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VALENTINE GIFTS IDEAS FOR EVERYONE

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It is time to pamper yourself + everyone you know for Valentine’s Day! These super cute and luxurious gifts will make everyone fall head over heels for you…

kiko+ gatcha gatcha from Community Folk

kiyoko lip balm from the mini life

paris collection pencils from ACDShop

bliss lemon + sage body butter from Well

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crosley record player in nude from urban outfitters

illume coconut milk mango candle from indigo

st. jude printed heart bowls from west elm

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fuji instax mini 90 from london drugs

venice print shoes for kids from native shoes

tinou bird poster from oeufnyc

love x style x life book from chapters

 

I HEART YYC

Here’s my list of amazing things happening in Calgary this month. Well, I honestly cannot believe that is is already February. In some respects the year is going by too quickly already but then on the other hand, I am more than excited for spring to arrive. February is full of all sorts of goodness and I cannot wait to experience every minute of it. Check out these great events and please spread the good word of I HEART YYC to your friends.

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➔ I HEART YYC

All You Need is Love Market Collective: Market Collective is an independent market, created to showcase the works of local artists, artisans and musicians and to strengthen the local community in Calgary. Live music and DJ’s all weekend long. They will have local art, music, a photobooth, interactive displays, yummy treats, cocktails, DIY workshops and much much more! $5 admission! February 12-14 at the Chinese Cultural Centre

preSHRUNK Pop-up @ Bamboo Ballroom: If you haven’t heard about preSHRUNK before (I wrote about them for Avenue here) you will definitely want to pop down to this pop up! It is an online consignment shop for baby, kids and maternity and they carry a curated selection of fantastic brands.  February 13 from 12-5pm at Bamboo Ballroom, 1218 9th Ave SE.

Asian Night Market: Foodie alert! The 2nd Annual Night Market, on Februrary 26th at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Center is on Feb 26th. The night market will have various booths set up featuring traditional Asian style street food and drinks. To make the event more environmentally friendly, they are also offering an incentive to those that choose to bring their own plates/bowls/utensils to use. Let the exec members at the door know and you will receive 2 FREE food tickets! February 26 from 6-9pm at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association, 1320 5 Avenue NW

Eat Meet Mingle Shop: One of the sweetest local kids brands, My Mila is hosting their 2nd anniversary party at the end of the month with an awesome shopping party! My Mila’s friends Jacob & Grace, Modern Tipi, Lil Fox Shoppe and Stevie and Bean will be joining the party as vendors. Be ready to shop! Shopping will be open to the public free of charge from 12pm-4pm – you can also get VIP tickets here. February 28 from 10am-4pm at The Studio Space, 504 42 Ave SE
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Greater Goods: One part tea bar, one part boutique, Greater Goods Co. is what happens when passionate entrepreneurs join forces. They also plan on hosting awesome workshops so expect to want to sign up for all of the classes soon! In the meantime, grab a cup of tea and enjoy perusing the talent on their shelves. Now Open at #8, 606 Meredith Road NE

Method Fitness: A brand-new fitness studio just opened up in Mission and I am actually going to be checking it out soon for some personal training. I am a bit nervous but I have really great things about their facilities! Now Open at #16 – 2500 4th Street SW

Monogram Coffee: The amazing folks behind Monogram Coffee have done it again with a brand new location serving downtown Calgary’s coffee lovers. The new location is absolutely stunning and the perfect place to decompress from the hustle + bustle of the city. Now Open at Fifth Avenue Place, 420 2nd Street SW

Juice Because: I am more than excited to have Juice Because in walking distance. This beautiful juice shop is the perfect addition to 4th Street; bright and fresh and serving up amazing juice combos, Juice Because is a great spot to get a boost in your health and nutrition. Their juicing cleanses are amazing and their nut milk is delicious splashed into coffee. Now Open at 342 15th Avenue SW

 

Enjoy and #shoplocal!

♥ ♥ ♥

GAP FIT

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Earlier this week, I woke up extra early to go to a yoga class. I have not said that in two years – between being pregnant and then having a little one around, the days where my mornings were my own are long gone – at least for now. I was up early to go spend the morning with Cam Lee (an amazing yogi from Vancouver and GapFit – the new line of activewear from Gap. Joined by some of my favourite blogger + influencer pals, we spent the morning bonding through exercise and reflection.

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The Spring Gap Fit collection is bright, young and comfortable. Get ready to break up your regular workout routine with these fun and fashion-forward pieces. My favourite is the focus on the back with extra-strappy bra tops and flowy tanks. We were all wearing the gFast trainer leggings and the medium impact sports bra. I paired my outfit with the super soft GapFit Breathe tee.

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Seriously, Cam is amazing! And this is just one of the inspiring moves she did during our class.

 

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Gap treated us to a healthy breakfast of chocolate chia seed pudding from Little Tucker and cold-pressed juice from Well Juicery. The perfect post-yoga snack.

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The whole crew together: Joanna Magik, Ania Boniecka, Jason Krell, Katrina Olson, Brandy, Andrew Obrecht, Brittany Messner, Melanie Morais and Cam Lee!

Thanks again Gap Chinook for having us!

FAST-FIRE’D PIZZA NOW IN CALGARY!

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Last night we popped into the brand-new location of Blaze Pizza in Calgary! Located at Sunridge Mall, this fast casual pizza concept offers up customized artisanal pizzas made in only 180 seconds. They officially open today, February 4th and will be opening a second location this summer in Mission on 4th Street.

We had heard really great things about this LeBron James-backed pizza place and they certainly did not disappoint. First off, their gluten-free pizza crusts are delightfully thin and chewy. Not the brittle thin crusts we are have become accustomed to from fast pizza joints. Not only that but the staff all took care to change their gloves when handling our order and even used different utensils when preparing it for us. I really appreciated that and I know so many other gluten-free people in Calgary will be really happy about that. We also tried their housemade Blood Orange Lemonade which was delicious! Byron finished off the meal with one of their famous (not gluten-free) smores!

To celebrate their grand opening, the restaurant will offer FREE build-your-own artisanal pizzas on Friday, February 5th from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. to anyone who follows Blaze Pizza on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

Here are the specifics:

Blaze Pizza is located by Sunridge Mall (2618 32nd St. NE), next to Five Guys and near Buffalo Wild Wings. In July, a second Calgary restaurant will open at the corner of 4th Street and 21st Avenue (2020 4th St. SW).

Their Free Pizza Day record is about 2,700 pizzas given out, and they’d love for their first Calgary location to beat that!

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YOU ARE INVITED: #MRMENLITTLEMISSGAP

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I am SO excited to invite you to a special event here in Calgary this coming Saturday, February 6th! Join me at BabyGap Chinook Centre for the #MRMENLITTLEMISSGAP BabyGap launch!

BabyGap is collaborating with Mr. Men Little Miss this Spring to create a limited edition collection featuring beloved characters from the iconic children’s books created by British author Roger Hargreaves. I will be reading the Mr Men Little Miss series for a special Saturday morning storytime at the Chinook Centre location.  This event is in support of a cause that is very dear to my heart – children’s literacy! BabyGap has partnered with Milk + Bookies, a non-profit focused on getting books into the hands of children who need them most. Bring a new or gently used book for donation and enjoy the activities and treats!

Click the invitation below to RSVP! I am really looking forward to seeing you all there!

 

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Launched on January 25th, the collection includes onesies, bibs, blankets socks and hats all designed with Mr. Men Little Miss’ signature bright colors and bold lines. Many of the series’ original characters make an appearance including Mr. Bump, Little Miss Hug, Mr. Happy and Little Miss Giggles. The collaboration also introduces two new, specially created characters: Mr. Gap and Little Miss Gap, who are based on Gap founders Don and Doris Fisher. I am obsessed with the amazing Daisy and San Francisco footed onesies! 

See you all on Saturday! xx

 

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