LIFESTYLE

The Fabulously Unfit Girl's Guide To Health & Wellness: let's talk.

Let's talk about something extremely personal. 

 

Something almost everyone who knows me is surprised to learn I have Bi-Polar disorder. And not just a little bit. I have full blown Bi-Polar 1 disorder and have my whole life - and although I was diagnosed at 18, I was never fully and properly treated or made to understand what I was dealing with until my late 20s. I have a family doctor, a psychiatrist, an ObGyn, and a maternal psychiatric specialist that are all fortunate enough to have me as a patient. Ha. I take 3-4 different medications daily, some twice a day, and I will have to for the rest of my life. 

 

Some people will suggest that you can control an illness like mine with breathing exercises, physical activity, diet, or yoga and green tea. Those people are wrong. They are ignorant and need to get informed. In short, until they decide to hit up a library, they can go f**k themselves.

 

People also assume that being bipolar means simply that you have mood swings. Nope. Wrong. In the simplest way I can explain it, it's like you are either in the deepest depression or high as a kite. And I don't mean sad or happy, although those are emotions that can come into play. I'm talking about crippling depression that will keep you in bed for days, so anxious you can't breathe, angry, sad, and desperate. I'm talking about highs so extreme that people will think they are invincible, not sleep for a week, spend money on ridiculous things, choose terrible partners, and take on far too many tasks. Being in a manic (high) cycle can make you feel magic - but like my psychiatrist says, magic comes at a price. Long story short - what goes up, must come down. And when it does, it's a not a gentle landing. 

 

Let me tell you a story... 

 

Last winter I experienced one of the worst lows of my life. It went and on and on and got worse and worse. I would get up every day, get dressed and put my makeup on, and go to work with a big smile for each of my clients like everything was fine. Everything wasn't fine, I felt like I was drowning. I was functioning but only as an empty shell - like a puppet. I would come home and take out my frustration on my husband, I didn't want to engage in any social activities, I was confused and angry all the time. 

 

After my household was asleep I would get up about 3:30am every night and have such an intense anxiety attack that I would often throw up and sit crying on my bathroom floor. My best friend Ted was always by my side... for anyone who doesn't know Ted, he's a big, adorable rescue mutt that I got just in time to save his life from being shot, after living the saddest life a dog could live. And yet, time and again, I wonder who has really saved who? 

 

Finally, one night or early morning, my husband woke up to find Ted and I on the bathroom floor. He knew this had been happening but hadn't seen it for himself to fully understand where I was at. 

 

The next day he told me he wanted to put me in the hospital. My mind raced... what would people say?... this would be on my medical records... my career would never be the same... people will lose all kinds of respect for me... I simply said "If you do that, I will never, ever forgive you."

 

To which he replied, "Well I will never, ever forgive myself if I come home to a dead wife."

 

Never had I considered suicide. Let me be clear about that. I am WAY too stubborn for that. Ha. But the fact that my husband saw that as an end game for what was happening was like a cold shower. The jig was up, I couldn't live like that anymore. My meds had stopped working, I hated my psychiatrist, and I was sick. Plain and simple. 

 

Luckily (very, very luckily), I had access to someone who manages a psychiatrist's office who had always spoken so highly of the doctor she works for. She is a beautiful person and so very compassionate. I swallowed my pride and explained what was going on and asked for help. I saw him within a week. He tweaked my diagnosis, changed my meds, added some new ones, and focused on the holistic things I could do to help myself. He actually listened to me. He asked my husband to attend my appointment to understand the illness. Nobody had ever done that before. Most importantly, he didn't talk down to me. 

 

Let's get something straight. Somebody can have all the degrees in the world but nobody is an expert on a mental illness like the person who has it. Trust me on that. 

 

Flash forward to 2017 and a year of new treatment and a good doctor. I feel really good. I can't say great because I don't think I ever feel totally great. It's something I still deal with everyday and always will. But I'm happy, I'm social, I'm lucky to have a job (correction, jobS) that I love. I try to put effort, research, humour, and kindness into everything I do. I appreciate the life I've been given and I try my best to take care of myself. 

 

I love my husband and I am nice to him... Most of the time. Ha. JK, he's seriously the best. 

 

... And Ted is still my best friend. 

 Photo by Leslie Kent.

Photo by Leslie Kent.

 Photo by Leslie Kent.

Photo by Leslie Kent.

 

This blog series is about health and wellness. Mental health still has a huge stigma around it, and until we can accept these illnesses just like any other that needs to be diagnosed and treated, people will continue to suffer. Not everyone is as stubborn as me, not everyone is so stubborn that they refuse to let an illness beat them. Not everyone has an amazing husband, friends, family, and dogs that are by your side the second they sense something is wrong. 

 

People without support systems will continue to live in poverty, battle addictions, resort to crime, and alienate their loved ones. People will continue to fill our hospitals, jails, and shelters. People will also appear to live completely normal lives, but come home and suffer in silence. 

 

Open your minds, open your ears, and get informed. You might just be the person to help someone who is struggling. 

 

If you or anyone you know feel that you need help, ask for help. As Canadians, we have access to health care. Use it. It's there for you. 

 

Take care of yourselves and love each other. 

 

Katie

Xoxo

#bellletstalk

 January 25, 2017 is the Bell Let's Talk day of mental health awareness that raises money for mental health initiatives. Talk, text, or use social media and let the world know your story. 

January 25, 2017 is the Bell Let's Talk day of mental health awareness that raises money for mental health initiatives. Talk, text, or use social media and let the world know your story. 

 



 

I'm not your mom. I'm Chan

As we approach the fourth year of the Modern Woman Show; the blog team and I have decided to reflect on the last year’s growth and changes. For myself I have always found that your world can be turned upside down at a moment’s notice and we have to learn to roll with the punches.

Hand me a work issue, rental property mishap, or multiple chronic diseases, and I GOT IT (with a little wine and some grumbling).  Now, add a whole new dynamic with a little eight year old, call me dad’s girlfriend and see me squirm.  I’m a fish out of water. KIDS. Shit. This sounds scary. It’s a tough gig this ‘stepmom’ role especially when you don't have children of your own. You never really know how you will be accepted by the family, the existing friends, and most importantly by the kids. In what ways will this effect your future? Will you sacrifice your goals and plans? And don't forget the ex wife who might pop out of the bush at any moment - that is a whole other level of stress. What do you say? What do you not say? Don't screw this up! Everything is so delicate. 

It happened and now you're attached to the kid(s). You love them with all your heart and can't imagine life without them. But a nice dose of reality sets in. You are not their mother

Today i'm offering a little advice to those second in command. I'm not a counselor but I have had personal experience as a kid of a blended family and now in the reverse role. So i have compiled a little list of dos and dont's. 

* Support your partner’s parenting decisions. You are a united front. Offer feedback and conversation out of earshot of the children but remember that you are the co-pilot in this particular journey. Kids like stability, so provide that. You may not have your shit together but the kids need to think you do.

* Be a good listener and don't force the process of building a relationship – when you are yourself it tends to happen naturally. Kids feel the pressure of being loyal to their biological parents. Don't make it more stressful for them. This process does not happen overnight. 

* Understand and accept that your friendship is a valuable piece in this little humans upbringing and being a positive role model everyday will always have a huge impact on who they grow up to be. We all have gifts that can be shared with the world. Find those common interests. Mine happens to be love of hockey and Nutella by the spoonful. 

* This is not for the weak. It can often feel like life in the trenches. Unless you have been there you truly can't understand. Somewhat like an outsider. Especially so when you don't have children of your own. Keep open communication with your partner and it can be of great comfort to talk to someone who shares this same role.

* You can't fix what you didn't break and just KNOW that some battles can't be won or more importantly -shouldn't be won. Be supportive. Be kind. Be patient. Be honest. And sometimes going to the safeway starbucks to take a breather is needed. It can be your secret spot. Just make sure to save me a seat.

I really want to say kudos to all the stepmoms and stepdads, the girlfriends and boyfriends who accept the challenges of a blended family. It’s a tough job but you are nailing it. 

And remember...

LOVE MAKES A FAMILY

Chantal

Diversity on the Runway

 

With the Modern Woman Show fast approaching, one of the biggest tasks as the fashion show coordinator is choosing the models that will be showing the clothing on the runway. Their job is to look great, that goes without saying - they're models... duh, but ultimately it is to represent the vendor's merchandise and make it appealing to the audience. But then the question becomes, what makes something appealing?

So often following any fashion show I work at or attend, I hear "The clothes look great on those models, but they sure wouldn't look like that on me!" That is almost verbatim. Every. Single. Time.

The thing is, while clothing on a parade of similar looking people can make a beautiful, artistic statement for haute couture shows, this particular show is about everyday people that shop with our local merchants. In our community, that means a melting pot of ethnicities, body types, and lifestyles. Aiming to have some diversity on the runway allows the audience to perhaps see themselves reflected in the show, feel more confident trying on the clothes, embracing the newest trends, and ultimately supporting those local merchants.

The goal is to show attainable fashion. That means no matter the colour of your skin, what your story is, your age, what gender you are, if you are thin, short, curvy or tall - you can come to the show and feel like you saw something on the runway that you can wear.

This year we welcome several new vendors that really put a new twist on the diversity of the show in terms of the clientele it reaches. We have FIVEAM, our first menswear retailer; Kiowa Sage - a local First Nations designer; and Red Lotus - a boutique that specializes in garments geared toward women who have undergone mastectomies.

A term thrown around loosely is "body positivity", but people assume that means loving yourself only at a certain size or weight. WRONG! It means accepting and loving yourself (and others) no matter what beef they have with themselves... and trust me, we all have them.

We have 30 (30!) models walking in this year's show, and not one of them look alike. I asked a few of them to weigh in with their feelings on runway diversity and here is what they had to say:

 

Mandy

"The only Webster's definition of 'model' that denotes a size requirement is when referring to a miniature replica. Since no one can essentially be a miniature replica in the fashion world, I'm ecstatic to see the industry finally embracing models of all shapes, sizes & colours. The focus should be more on projecting the image of healthy confidence rather than a particular body type to aspire to. Thin, curvy, tall, short - it's all beautiful."

 

Anton

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but true beauty is within all of us no matter your race, gender or shape. We are all beautiful and it is confidence that will make us shine. To quote Dr. Seuss 'Be who you are and say what you mean. Because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind!' At the end of the day we all smile in the same language.”

 

Shyla-300x202.jpg

Shyla

"Runway fashion is a visual picture of a moving art form. It holds many titles and is always presents the top fashion trends. Body imagery and its uniqueness plays an important role. I believe runway should take further steps to embrace ALL body types to create solidarity among designers."

Siera

"Bodies are beautiful no matter what shape and size. We are made to believe that smaller is better and we become obsessed with looking a certain way rather than treating the body like the magnificent biological machine it is. We need to turn our focus to optimal performance rather than fitting a particular mould. We are all unique and that should be represented in the media as well as on the runway."

 

Jeanny

"Diversity in fashion is essential and it starts by educating men and women that beauty comes in different shapes, colours, and sizes. This allows the younger generation to be empowered as they see more "relatable" role models on the runway. One day I will look back on this day holding onto my daughter's hand when she tells me 'Mom, you have done it, so can I!'"

 

Ashley

"When Katie first asked me to take part in this fashion show, my immediate response was 'How cool!' Followed by utter dread. As the date draws nearer to the show, I've actually realized how freaking cool it will be to be a model of a different demographic that people can look at and identify with. I feel like on this stage if I can make even one person in the crowd feel like 'Hey I could wear that too!' then that is worth the experience itself!"

As you can see, these models are just like you and me. They are you and me.

My personal advice? Take care of your body and mind and the rest will come. It's just that simple.

I can't wait for this year's show and see all of our beautiful faces and vendors light up the runway! Come out to the show and share our good vibes!

XOXO,

Katie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make sure to grab your friends and take in the Runway Fashion Show hosted by Chantel Huber at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 16th at Prairieland Park. See the newest trends in fashion with 11 boutiques including, Swank Shoe Lounge, Era Style Loft, Details at Home, Kiowa Sage, Harper Clothing Co., Tonic, Red Lotus, Lead Pilates, Two Fifty Two Boutique, Bella Chic, and FIVEAM. Come early to grab seats, win some fabulous prizes, and of course...get a head start on all the shopping at the Modern Woman Show & Expo. General Tickets are available at the door for $10. This event is proud to support the YWCA Saskatoon.

Meet our Partner: Realty Executives Saskatoon

 

 

With a new season approaching it always feels like the right time to think about home renovations, spring cleaning, planning out what you will do with your yard this year...or in fact look for a new or existing home to purchase.  In preparation for the big event we caught up with Broker/Owner of Realty Executives Saskatoon, Wayne Zuk, to talk about the brokerage, what inspires him, and what tips he has for female entrepreneurs.  Realty Executives Saskatoon is the Presenting Sponsor of The Modern Woman Show and the agents are truly - Where the experts are.

Tell us about your business?

Our business is a full service real estate brokerage offering Residential, Commercial, and Farm real estate services. We have 115 licensed real estate Executives, plus an admin staff of 10. In 2015 we were involved in 2200 real estate transactions with a volume of just over 780 million dollars.

 How did you get started?

We started out in 1976 under the brand name Ashford Realty. Ashford was a subsidiary of the Alberta based Nu-West Development Corporation, and a sister company to a prominent home builder called Cairns Homes.

 What inspires you?

I'm inspired by watching adults help children. I'm inspired by health care workers who work with our seniors. I'm inspired by watching young people achieve personal and professional goals beyond their wildest dreams.

 What is your idea of a Modern Woman?

My mother was born in 1921. Her focus was to get married, and have a family, and look after that household - which at the time was a Time and a Half job. Then, once her 5 children were old enough, she thought about work outside the family home. Very little thought or time was dedicated to herself. The idea of a Modern Woman, in my opinion, is different. The first focus, in most cases, is to get an education, travel the world, build a career, and then think about a family, which also amounts to a Job and a Half.  I think the Modern Woman is more in tune with looking after herself, and dealing with the stress of the Life/Work/Family Balance in a more effective way. In the end....it still amounts to ALOT of HARD, HARD, work.

 What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur?

Take More Risk--what would you do...if you knew you couldn't fail--Do IT!   Learn how to maximize the opportunities that present themselves.----Learn to listen to your intuition.

 Do you have a female entrepreneur mentor?

I really admire the business acumen of Arlene Dickinson, and recently had the opportunity to listen to Christine Magee, co-founder of Sleep Country--both have compelling success stories. Women in business should be inspired by these ladies.

Do you think there is a supportive network for women entrepreneurs in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan?

I think there is room to grow in this area--and the efforts of events like Modern Woman can go a long way to ensuring that future female entrepreneurs have the plan, have the support, and have the mentoring necessary. Continued SUCCESS!

 

Visit the Realty Executive Saskatoon booth at the Modern Woman Show on April 16th & 17th at Prairieland Park. Learn what a REX agent can do for your buying and selling needs. You can also see a few of the agents on the Runway with FIVEAM clothing at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday April 16th. Don't miss it!

LEADING the way in Saskatoon: Our introduction into Pilates

 

What is Pilates?

The art of controlled movement to improve flexibility, build strength, and develop endurance in the entire body. It places emphasis on alignment, breathing, and developing a strong core, improving coordination and balance.

Now what is Lead Pilates?

Take all the fundamentals of Pilates and then place them in a facility with amazing instructors, advanced technology and equipment. Now add a wide range of services that include innovative classes to the ability of having Integrated Health Therapies such as Massage, Chiropractic, and Sports Medicine Services- ALL UNDER ONE ROOF. Oh, and don't forget the amazing exclusive clothing line Alo Clothing.

 

Our Experience

When I had the chance to check out the new Lead Pilates studio, I knew it was something I couldn’t say no to. Having never tried Pilates I was confident that Jocelyn and myself would have the best experience with owner, Jana Danielson guiding us.  Jana had suggested we start our afternoon off in a BURN class… being a lover of hot yoga I felt this was going to be right up my alley.

 

The class was taught by the amazing Desiree, an experienced instructor that teaches a range of classes at the facility.  The room was a perfect summer hot day– not hot like make you drip sweat and wonder how the heck you will get through the next 50 minutes.  They achieve this perfect temperature with infrared heating from the ceiling.

 

Jocelyn and I were supplied with beautiful mats, and when I say beautiful, it was literally the best mat I have ever used.  Desiree was a great instructor, she had a perfect location on the side of the room so we could see her movements and the room was filled with mirrors so we could always make sure our posture was correct in each exercise.

 

The work-out was dynamic and had a great focus on pelvic floor strengthening. From our toes to the top of our heads, the exercises were challenging and fun. When we finished they provided us with wet cloths in the cool down to wipe our brows.

 

After class it was time for a tour of the entire studio. What a wonder! I was in awe at the vision and execution Jana has made. Lead Pilates is not just the large Pilates machines (called Reformers), it has grown into several areas and as Jana says, “With each class we offer there is one foot firmly grounded in the world of Pilates, and one foot in another aspect of fitness.”  This is so true, Lead now offers classes like the one we took - BURN, as well as, Essentrics, and Bodhi Suspension Training – which gives the ability to be suspended from all fours to improve flexibility, balance, and strength.

 

They have great mat classes for all levels and yes, you can learn the Reformer and other Pilates equipment too. The list goes on to include Booty Barre classes, Prenatal, and Mommy & Baby classes.  One class that definitely stood out in my mind was their addition of cycling. This isn’t your regular spin class – everything about your ride is projected onto the screen in front of you, feeling the impact of different terrains, and creating a feeling of being outdoors with their advanced bikes.

 

Leaving the building I felt like I was leaving a new home. Everything about the facility and staff make you want to return sooner than later. I highly recommend trying out a class or two (your first class is always free!). In the words of Lead Pilates - Love the Life you Lead.

Thank you Jana, Des, and all the fabulous Lead Staff for making my experience so great! Can't wait to come back :)

Chantal

 

 

When I was asked to join Chan in a Pilates class I was super excited as I’ve been wanting to try it for quite some time now. I have a few friends that do it religiously and are always chatting it up.  So thanks to a lovely friend for some child care I was able to attend their Friday afternoon BURN class.

 

At first the thought of “hot” roomed anything made me a bit queasy, still having some baby hormones raging. It was amazing! The infrared heat was so cozy and nice.  I was so impressed with the class and the trainer Des was incredible. So knowledgeable and spunky.  This facility exceeded my expectations big time. In my head, I had only pictured mat classes and the reformer boards… It’s SO MUCH MORE!! The cycle classes, the massage and chiro, and a clothing line in the front lobby. This place has it all.  A huge thank you to Jana for having us. What a great experience!

Joc XX

 

Lead Pilates can be found at their new location just off of College Drive & McKercher Drive on the corner of Packham Avenue & 105th St. in Sutherland. Make sure to visit their website for detailed descriptions of all the classes and amenities they offer. Don't miss the complimentary mat class at The Modern Woman Show & Expo at 9:30 a.m. on both Saturday April 16th & Sunday April 17th at Prairieland Park (just bring your own mat!). Lead will be on location all weekend to show you all the services they provide, as well as, they can be seen on the runway at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday April 16th with their amazing multi functional athletic wear.

 

All photos courtesy of deMo Photography

I am a Modern Woman: Meet Red Lotus

 

Meet Moneca McLean, Owner of Red Lotus

 

Tell us about your business?

Red Lotus brings to Saskatoon and the surrounding area, a stunning European clothing line, post-surgery garments, world leading breast forms and symmetry products, wigs, scarves, hats, yoga/meditation accessories, and giftware.  Although our clothing and products are designed for all women, Red Lotus specializes in women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, women who have had mastectomy, lumpectomy, breast reduction, augmentation surgery, and/or women in transition who require the use of breast forms and symmetry products.

How did you get started?

I worked in healthcare for 8 years prior to going into business.  Through the company’s re-organization, my position was eliminated in 2014.  It was then that I began reflecting on where/what I was going to do moving forward as a career.  During that time of reflection, I set up a criteria for myself that consisted of 3 items:

Whatever I decided to do moving forward, it must be something:

  1. that I feel very passionate about
  2. where I can make a positive difference in the lives of people
  3. that will provide financial stability for my family

From there I started reflecting on my life and experiences and exactly ‘what’ those things could possibly be and Red Lotus very quickly became an idea, then a plan, and now a reality.

What inspires you?

I was inspired to open Red Lotus through my own personal experience of supporting women close to me who required the use of breast forms. Through witnessing their journey, my desire to open a boutique that was warm, tranquil, fun, compassionate and inspiring became my mission. I was determined to provide women the ability to shop in a retail environment where they have access to a beautiful selection of clothing that is fashionable, fun, sexy, and (of course) comfortable!  My goal is to provide women the opportunity to feel confident and leave my shop carrying a higher positive body image!

What is your idea of a Modern Woman?

My idea of a modern woman is a woman who walks to the beat of her own drum, who is confident in who she is and confident in her abilities.  She makes a conscious choice to positively contribute to herself, her family and to her community regardless of career or finances.

What tips can you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs?

Whatever it is that you decide to do be sure it is something that feeds your passion. If you are wishy-washy in any way don’t do it!  When you are consumed so much that you are never more than 5 minutes between thinking/planning/imagining it – you’re meant to do it! Know that it IS going to happen and do your homework…all of it!

What is one piece of advice you would give yourself looking back?

In those moments of doubt when I was stressed and second guessing my decision to open a business, I would have said to myself, “Relax and Let Go – it’s meant to happen” and it all works out in the end.

What is in the future for Red Lotus?

Red Lotus will continue to establish itself in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan as the only business in the province to offer women the complete Amoena of Germany clothing line, mastectomy/symmetry and meditation/yoga accessories.

What would we find you doing in your free time?

My free time is spent with my family! I have a wonderful partner of 12 years and 3 children; a 26 yr old daughter, a 23 year old son and a 20 year old daughter! They are the loves of my life and spending time with them is always my priority!

Who is someone that you find is a role model for women in business?

A woman who I have always admired is Maya Angelou.  Her personal story of triumph over her diverse and unstable upbringing to becoming one of the most profound women in literature is incredibly inspiring.

Do you think having a mentor is valuable both while you're starting out and even after you are more experienced?

I believe having a mentor before, during, and after you open your business is valuable. I had the support of Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan throughout my process and I continue to access their support and services today.  They are crucial in my success.

Do you feel a strong sense of community among business woman and female entrepreneurs in Saskatoon and in Saskatchewan?

I believe there are avenues for women in business to meet.  As I am early on in my business I have not met these women but plan on increasing my attendance at events, seminars and socials to build my network.

 

Visit the beautiful and serene Red Lotus at #170 –  3020 Preston Ave, Saskatoon. We are proud to have Moneca and her team as a Gold Sponsor at The Modern Woman Show & Expo at Prairieland Park April 16th & 17th. Not only will their experienced and trained staff be there with their products but you can also see their clothing line and jewellery on the runway Saturday April 16th at 7:00 p.m.

 

Interview by Mandi Brown

Photo of Moneca courtesy of deMo Photography

A look at the evolution of the Best Friend

 

What you need in your friendships changes with age, and over time. It starts to look different, but it changes so slowly you really don’t even notice it. A lot has changed for me over the past few years...

I have become very self – aware. I have found out how resilient and adaptable I am. I have allowed myself to be vulnerable and open. All of which is in huge part to the people I surround myself with. My closest friends are my family. They are the people who stand beside me, push me forward, and sometimes…hold me up. They give me the things I need the most, in ways I never expected.

You choose the people you surround yourself with. You decide what you need. We are all human, we all need a few main things from our tribe...

Support.

They drop what they are doing. They check in, as many times as they need to. They listen while you talk. They ask you the tough questions. The ones you know the answers to... somewhere in there, and they let you talk it out and get there on your own. No judgement, only love. They have only your best interest at heart, which means what is best for you, not them. And they will let you figure that out too, as frustrating as that is for them. They hold space. Which is a big, beautiful, and a rare thing.

Encouragement.

They get excited for you. They volunteer their time, hands, space, car, wine...whatever you need for whatever you are doing. They send you “you’ve got this girl” texts, motivational quotes (we all love them, don’t lie), and lists of ideas. And? They get on your ass. To get it done. They tell it to you straight- with love....and sometimes a hard and fast “get real’. They push you. Especially when you don’t want to be pushed. Because they know that’s when you need it the most. They don’t let you coast, because they know you are wayyyyy better than that. And you are. You just need that reminder.

Accountability.

Do yourself a favor. Surround yourself with people who hold you accountable. To your word. Your actions. Your goals. Those people? Those are the ones you want in your corner. They are the ones who not only celebrate with you, but for you. They genuinely celebrate. Like “girl pop the champagne we are dancing on the table” celebrate. Sometimes we put things off, sometimes we are scared to take a step. These are the people who encourage you to DECLARE what you want, what you need, what you will do. And then? They make sure you do it.

Fun.

You laugh till you cry over really stupid things, and that probably aren’t even funny. But you do it together. You have the best random afternoon adventures that generally end (or begin!) with a pint (or three) of beer at your fav pub. You share the kind of text messages that make zero sense to anyone else, that you screen shot because they are that good. You pause to dance in the kitchen mid-conversation because, I mean...obviously. The people who will be ridiculous with you, no holds barred and straight up ridiculous. Those are the most refreshing, vibrant people. Keep them- you always, always need more fun in your everyday.

To my tribe- thank you. You kick ass. I love you, big time.

Xo

Meg

 

Meet our Vendors: Soul Salons

 Janalyn Mehler - Owner of Soul Salons

 

Tell us about your business?

We serve to give each and every client a safer and healthier experience in our salon environment. We specialize in cleaner hairdressing techniques and products to protect the integrity of the hair and the condition of the scalp without compromising the results. Furthermore, we guide and educate our clients towards healthier lifestyles. Combining cleaner salon practices with overall health is our way of alchemizing true beauty. That's why we are Soul Salons- Hair, Body, and Spirit.

 

How did you get started?

I bought the salon five years ago off my previous boss and mentor. She stayed with me for a year to get things up and going. I got really lucky to have that kind of help.

 

What inspires you?

Nature in all its glory! Nature has this way of grounding me. When I am grounded I think clearer, feel lighter, and more relaxed.  I feel inspired and motivated to work hard so I can spend more time outside in Momma nature. -The ultimate modern woman!

What is your idea of a Modern Woman?

A modern woman has total freedom of choice when it comes to what she wants to do with her life. She is limitless in her choices and because her desire is so strong, nothing or no one will stop her. I believe a modern woman could and should have total time and financial freedom and I see more and more women going down the home based business route doing very very well for themselves and creating positive changes in their family and relationships. I feel for job security reasons these days it's a good thing to diversify and have your eggs in a few different baskets.

 

What tips can you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs?

-Stay true to yourself. What do YOU want to create?! Do not let outside influences steer you away from your dreams and desires.

-Meditate, do yoga, go for a float, get outside....spend time with YOURSELF once a day. If you have a partner or kids find the time to have some alone time, it's worth every minute!

-Morning pages- 3 pages, first thing every morning as soon as you wake up. Just write. Don't worry about spelling or it not making sense. This allows you to put anything that's bothering you on paper so you don't carry that energy around with you all day. And if your goal is to write a book imagine what 3 pages will add up to after a few months of this super powerful morning ritual.

-Build solid relationships. Allow people into your life. Your network is your greatest asset.

What is one piece of advise you would give yourself looking back?

Don't be so hard on yourself!

What can we find you doing in your free time?

You can find me at Moksha yoga studio, a spin class or biking around the river, walking my dog Osito, hanging out at the market/ cafes for hours, or at some sort of community event or music festival.

 

Who is someone that you find is a role model for women in business?

I've been spending a lot of time with this woman lately and my goodness has she taught me a lot, Celeste Lemieux of Balance Within. I've never met anyone with her life experiences who's been able to show up fully present everyday and hold space and help so many people. I've taken a few courses with Celeste over the past year. I can truly say I am a more compassionate and a more loving person because of her...especially towards myself.

 

Do you think having a mentor is valuable both while you’re starting out and even after you are more experienced?

I had a mentor when I started hairdressing, Jacquelyn Marquis.  I would have quit a year after I began if it wasn't for her believing in me and spending the time and energy to teach me everything I still use until this day. I am currently mentoring an apprentice. Next month she will be completing her Journeymen's. Mentoring has shown me just how much I relied on my mentor to get me through some pretty tough experiences and if I didn't have that support I probably would have quit early on in my career. The power of a mentor goes a long long way.

 

Do you feel a strong sense of community among business woman and female entrepreneurs in Saskatoon and in Saskatchewan?

1000% yes!

Many of my friends I grew up with in Saskatoon are now some sort of entrepreneur. We have all came across the same struggles and know what it's like getting started. I feel anyone who moves to Saskatchewan would have no problem being welcomed and supported in their business.

Make sure to visit Janalyn and her Soul Team at the Modern Woman Show & Expo on April 16th & 17th at Prairieland Park. We have always learned so much from her each year at the event and we know you will find her products and knowledge eye opening and her presence filled with positivity.

Soul Salons can be found at #7-405 Circle Drive East in Saskatoon. Call them at 306-978-2411 to book an appointment.

 

Interview by Chantal Schulte

Photos by deMo Photography

Entrepreneurship: How I went on a 'working' vacation!

 

I have a weird job. I'm the first to admit it. When someone asks me "What do you do?" I honestly wish I had an easy, clear answer. I just don't fall into your run of the mill professions that can be easily defined with a one word answer.

I am an entrepreneur.

My educational background is in Commerce. I am a makeup artist; an esthetician; a event coordinator; a blogger; and most recently, a student of photography. This latest undertaking makes me money, so I suppose that makes me semi-professional and gets rolled into my Liam Neesen style "particular set of skills" (Hellooo... awesome Taken reference alert.)

I figuratively wear many hats. (Literally too, usually hobo-style toques because I don't feel like doing my hair. #truth) Nothing is ever the same one week to the next. I created this job. Its unique to only me. And the best part? Anyone can do the same thing with their own "particular set of skills" ... trust me people, life is better when you are doing what you love to do.

Recently, my weird job offered the most awesome opportunity to come along as both a makeup artist and photographer for a wedding at the beautiful Barceló Maya Beach Resort in Mexico, I was pumped... my personal Holy Grail of gigs - "The Destination Wedding"!

But hold the phone, I was also super hesitant. This would be the first wedding I had ever photographed, and I didn't want to screw that up for this couple by getting in over my head. I asked my photography teacher (the very talented and wise Shannon Brunner www.shannonbrunner.com) what to do and she simply said "Take the job, we'll make sure you're ready." (Sometimes you just need someone else to tell you can do something. Validation - its ok, we all need it.) 

I first had to first condense and pack a travel sized professional makeup kit about 1/100th the size of my regular one. The heat can pose a buttload of challenges with skin irritations and makeup durability so I was well stocked with skin care solutions,  long-wearing, multi-purpose productssetting sprays, and lots of disposables that wouldn't be readily available at a resort. The challenge was to pack as few products as possible, with the most multi-tasking impact, and in the most travel friendly way. This bride is a natural beauty, wears little-to-no makeup in everyday life, but needed some extra vibrancy and definition to make sure her features didn't get lost under the bright, bright sun on the beach. Easy-peasy, since Richelle is a mega-babe.

 

 

Luckily, packing my camera equipment was super easy. I made sure everything was registered with my insurance company and I had a perfect carry-on sized travel bag. I took 4 lenses, 2 camera bodies, my external flash, a modifier, 3 camera batteries, 2 chargers, about 1000 SD cards, approximately 4 million AA batteries... and a partridge in a pear tree.

The wedding itself was beautiful. Short and sweet, with just their closest family and friends on the beach. The ceremony was followed by a couple hours of free time that we used for the formal portraits of the couple... and a couple cervesas, obviously. The evening included an amazing dinner and cake cutting at an a la carte steakhouse, and an absolutely fantastic private party on the beach which I can say DID include a spectular group performance of that Whip-Nay-Nay thing that I don't know much about. (#oldballs). They even got me out on the sandy dancefloor for a couple of songs.

 

 After the wedding, Chris and I still had a couple days to just enjoy Mexico(Did I mention I weaselled my husband in on the action?) We spent a day at Xel-ha, an Eco-park that is essentially one big inlet off the Caribbean Sea that has a bunch of cool activities like cliff jumpingsnorkelling and ziplining. We spent most of the day working on some hideous life-jacket shaped sunburns whilst floating down the giant lazy river.

 

We managed to make a day trip to Playa Del Carmen, take in a few a la carte restaurants, spent some time at the pool, and hit up the resort's bowling alley - which provided some seriously stylish hospital shoe covers for people without socks. Both clever and ridiculous... because who the hell brings socks to Mexico???

 

(Side note: Although this resort was pretty fab, the first two nights were home to the "Phish Festival" which not only could I not believe was a thing, but exposed me to legions of loud-ass, washed up 90s hispters that will haunt my nightmares. But THAT is a story for another time... #blur4eva) All in all, this trip was the best of both worlds and I felt happy and comfortable every step of the way. The point is, I may have an unconventional job, but its an awesome one. Entrepreneurship doesn't have to fit under a certain job description. My advice to anyone who feels stuck in their career, or lack thereof, is this: Find something you love to do, and then charge money for itYou will be happy and as a result, so will the people who hire you. #winwin

There are many roads to successbut having passion for what you do is the key.

Congratulations to newlyweds Richelle and Brian and thank you for the opportunity to be part of your awesome adventure and for taking a chance on a Noob! XOXO!

Katie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Info@katiemartin.ca

www.katiemartin.ca

From where I stand: a collection of photos from Deep Cove, North Vancouver

 

It’s one of my fav spots when I visit Van city.

 

 

It has a similar feeling to Banff or Waskesiu.

 

 

Full of cute little boutiques and coffee shops. All that over looks this most stunning view of the mountains.

 

I usually don’t have a tonne of time when I’m there to really soak it in, I  always make a point of popping into my fav store Room 6.

It’s the cutest lil place. Stationary, stuff for the kiddos, books, journals and clothing. SO cute and every time I go it has something I have not seen before.

 

 

We also grabbed a quick shake from the bluhouse cafe across the street for the journey back to the airport.

 

 

The air is humid and the people are beautiful.

If the real estate pricing wasn’t out of this world I would move there in a heart beat....

 

Joc xoxo

deMo Photography

I am a Modern Woman: Cream Clover Designs

Joanne Rejzek, owner of Cream Clover Designs

 

Tell us about your business?

Cream Clover Designs are handcrafted pillows and slips, these pillows are high quality and give you the opportunity to re-slip the covers for a new look, save money, and space. Currently available online but soon available at retailers.

How did you get started?

I have been a stay at home mom for about 16 years, they are into their teens now and I have always been quite creative. I had to ask myself what do I LOVE to do? I absolutely love fabrics, color, texture, and especially home accents and decor. I started with the my love for designer pillows.

What inspires you?

Love of texture, color, fabrics, I used to paint and I have always been a creative person. I asked myself what would I love to do for free? I love DESIGN, use of color, and creative outlets. This fits perfectly!

What is in the future for Cream Clover Designs?

Cream Clover will grow as an online store and reach people with the tradeshows such as The Modern Woman Show to continue to grow.

What is your idea of a Modern Woman?

Finding out what you love and JUST do that. Don’t try and make it more complex than it needs to be. Find balance. Cream Clover is my business and I want to keep it in line with my vision. I trust my instincts and trust my design.

What tips can you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs?

Be who you are. Find what you're good at and DO THAT. We all have a gift, so use your gift and you will find success. Don’t focus on the money first.

What is one piece of advice you would give yourself looking back?

I would tell myself to trust my own instincts, if I don’t like plaid then someone else can do plaid. Stick to what feels right to you.

What would we find you doing in your free time?

Going to the gym, being inspired and being a great mom!

Who is someone that you find is a role model for women in business?

My sister Joan is an successful entrepreneur and has given me great advice and keeps me on track, always guides me to trust myself.

 

You can find Joanne's beautiful pillows and pillow covers on her Facebook Page Cream Clover Designs, and on her website http://www.creamclover.com. Also make sure to check them out in person at the 2016 Modern Woman Show & Expo on April 16th & 17th - Prairieland Park, Saskatoon.

 

Interview by Mandi Brown

Photos by deMo Photography

 

 

LIA REESE CANADA presents Gretchen Christine Rossi

Designer & Creative Director Gretchen Christine Rossi

Gretchen-Rossi-pic-1-683x1024.jpg

 

"Gretchen Christine was born to design."

Gretchen Christine Rossi is the Creative Director for The Gretchen Christine Collection. Ever since debuting her first handbag line, Gretchen Christine has steadily grown the company to be a well-respected and highly sought after fashion and beauty brand. With fans and customers in more than 144 countries, the companies’ extreme attention to detail, the quality craftsmanship, forward thinking colorways, yet simple and classic designs make Gretchen Christine handbags extremely desirable. Gretchen was born into a designer family legacy, Gretchen’s father Scott Forward, is a hugely successful designer and engineer who instilled in Gretchen a passion for colors, textures and designs at a very early age.

After obtaining her BA from Baylor University in Texas, her love of design, lead her to a very lucrative career in Real Estate and Interior Design. Her accomplishments by 2008 landed in her a very exclusive group of agents. Gretchen was recognized by Coldwell Banker International for being in the top 7% of the world for sales volume and interior design installations. In 2009 Gretchen decided to follow her dreams and make a transition into accessories and fashion. Gretchen Christine debuted her first handbag designs, The Gretchen Christine Collection during New York Fashion week in 2009 working very closely with David Manning and his Style360 Company to huge success.

In June of 2008 Gretchen’s desires to create and perform where noticed by Hollywood producers who approached her about joining the wildly popular NBC/Bravo Television series, "The Real Housewives of Orange County." Gretchen embraced the offer as a business opportunity, she saw the show as a way to showcase her designs to the masses. Gretchen’s presence and popularity had been a consistent factor with-in the TV series over 6 seasons. Now entering its 11th season, the show is a huge international success recently celebrating more than 120th episodes being aired in just over 160 countries.

Being owned and syndicated by NBC Universal, it has become a billion-dollar franchise for the network. Gretchen immediately became one of the shows break out stars. With adoring fans all over the world, the show has been seen by over 400 million people, from the UK to Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa, Dubai, Asia and Mexico. Gretchen now has more than 675,000 twitter followers, she has 660,000 fans on Facebook and another 466,000 on Instagram.

In 2010 Gretchen launched "Gretchen Christine Cosmetics", Gretchen’s name sake cosmetics line has almost 300 sku’s and is a staple among top salons and make-up artists. In 2011 Gretchen launched Gretchen Christine Swim wear into retail. An exclusive deal with Swim Spot retail stores, Gretchen Christine Swim was completely sold out around the country in less than 7 days.

Gretchen’s desire to design and create show no signs of slowing down as she is prepping to launch several other categories with in the Gretchen Christine collection by the summer of 2016. In addition, Gretchen Christine Rossi was named in the top 30 on Twitters 2015 top 100 Entrepreneurs to watch.

Learn more about Gretchen and her journey as an entrepreneur on Sunday April 17th at 2:00 p.m. at the Modern Woman Show & Expo held at Prairieland Park, Saskatoon. Your general admission of $10 gets you in to watch her and take in the tradeshow for the day! Don't MISS out on $20 VIP Tickets available March 1st at www.modernwomansaskatoon.com - Get a reserved seat and the opportunity to meet her with access to the tradeshow!

The 'Modern Woman' Food Bank Challenge

Could you live off $32 dollars a week for food?

As a prudent planner and control freak I thought I could do this without issue. I spent the weeks leading up to this challenge thinking and re-thinking how I could demonstrate that a proper meal plan and budget could make this more than possible, but I ended up being part of an experience I wasn't at all prepared for.

But first, some things you should know...

Recent statistics (and a CTV news segment that inspired this blog post) reported that over 18,000 people utilize the Saskatoon Food Bank every month, with over half of those people being children. I wanted to find out why that figure was so high. In a casual conversation, someone suggested that in a city of roughly 255,000, as a statistic, 14% of the population living below the poverty line wasn't as bad as some places. However, I looked at it not as a statistic, but as 18,000 individual people... and that seemed like a whole lot of people. People that couldn't be pigeonholed into a certain demographic. Students, seniors, working families, those collecting social assistance or disability, and a variety of people who have just simply fallen on hard times due to any number of circumstances.

I did some digging into the data reported by HungerCount, a comprehensive study of food bank use in Canada, and found that Canadians visited food banks 14,000,000 times in 2014 with an average of 310,461 recipients each month being children. Yikes. Numbers are numbers, but I wanted more information - not just statistics, but a perspective from someone who could address the problem on behalf of the people utilizing the food bank right here in Saskatoon.

I was very lucky to correspond with Deborah Hamp, Director of Operations and Engagement for the Saskatoon Food Bank who was about to provide me with more insight.

I learned that there are four sizes of hampers available depending on how many people the hamper is designed to feed, and that the monetary value can change daily depending on what is available. A food basket is designed to last 2-3 days and can be accessed every 14 days. These baskets can contain soups, bread, lentils, oatmeal, canned protein frozen meat, pasta or rice, fresh produce (when available), and milk for children until 17 or nursing women. Deborah explained that the obvious key issues with the high usage of our food bank are inadequate social assistance rates, supplements for low-income seniors, and other income assitance such as disability. However, a bigger issue still is that wages for many low-income earners cannot keep up with the cost of living.

As I recently heard Bernie Sanders say, "Jobs should lift people of poverty, not keep them in it."

True dat, Bernie. The idea of "working for a living" has never been more untrue for a lot of people in low paying jobs. So what is happening to cause this problem among working people?

Well, think about it. People are working unskilled jobs that can't pay them enough to compete with increasing expenses, so there is consistenly a shortfall. Shortfalls that inevitably lead to crippling personal debt, increased government health care spending, increased social isolation, and increased incidence of mental illness such as depression and anxiety. Listen up people, you would be depressed too if had been eating the same thing for a week, if you didn't know where your next meal was coming from, or how you were going to feed your child a nutrious diet. People are quick to judge though, we've all done it.

So then, how do we elevate the quality of life for Canadians living below the poverty line? Well, HungerCount's findings suggest that affordable housing initatives, investments into education, and to improve support systems for low income families with children. But sadly, this is altogether easier said than done because, just as the people who utilize the food bank are multi-faceted, so are the solutions to each individual sitution. Plus, in a global economy that is sketchy at best - where does the money come from? In my discussion with Deborah Hamp, I then asked how people can help at a personal level, and she said the most powerful way to help begins with education.

So I decided to do just that. I wanted to do something to better educate myself and others about what it's like to experience food insecurity.

I designed a project based on similar challenges taking place all over North America, but adjusted the numbers to reflect the numbers here in Saskatchewan as best I could. I based this calculation on what the Saskatchewan monthly allotment for a single person on assistance would receive monthly, took away half for other necessities (soap, cleaning supplies, medication, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, etc.) and then divided by 4 to get an estimate of a weekly food budget. I realize that number may vary depending on the other expenses that could occur in a month, and the food budget could end up being slightly or not-so-slightly less depending on an individual's personal expenses. It is also noted that with an entire month's installment of money more savings could be accrued with bulk purchases as opposed to a single week's allotment, but for our purposes, a week's estimate was what we were going to work with. After speaking to a few people that either receive this benefit or work in this industry, I felt this number was fairly accurate and similar to what the other challenges presented in terms of a budget.

I needed some minions for this project so I asked some "modern women" to help me out. I'm so proud of these people for accepting this challenge whole-heartedly, and taking it so seriously with nothing to gain except a greater knowledge about themselves and others. We were very lucky to have each other as a support system via a Facebook group chat, where we could talk about our experience throughout the week. Many people in this situation wouldn't have that kind of support. There were laughs, frustrations, anger, and sadness as we all got a very small glimspe into a life of food insecurity. Our experience was only 7 days, but this is a long-term reality for too many people.

The rules were simple:

  1. Spend no more than $32 on your food for the week.
  2. No use of your previously purchased items that can be very pricey and likely to not be in your fridge or pantry. We were to treat it as a worst case scenario that left you starting from scratch; condiments, cooking sprays, oils, coffee, tea, or spices. It all had to be in the budget. We allowed random condiment packages collected from fast food places, because no matter your income - I'm pretty sure everyone has those atrocities laying around, and truly, if you wanted to go so far as to go grab them from somewhere, you could.
  3. No use of expensive convenience appliances - no Actifrys, Vitamixes or Keurigs,etc.
  4. Friends could not take you out for lunch, cocktails, or bring you Starbucks. Those living well below the poverty line often experience social isolation due to lack of funds and the challenge attempted to reflect that.
  5. You could not participate in unlikely workplace situations such as events with expensive dinners or office luncheons.
  6. Most people have family, so if you were invited for a gathering and offered a meal, you could have it - but you had to be invited and couldn't ask them to do so.

It wasn't easy. Not even a little bit. I actually really recommend everyone try this for a week. It should change your perspective, and if not... well, you're an asshole. Ok, just kidding, but I can't imagine it wouldn't.Meet the Challengers, have a peek at our grocery baskets for the week and what everyone had to say about their experience...

 

JENNA ROUFOSSE - REALTOR®

 

I am accustomed to a fairly comfortable lifestyle, which entails my trusty Keurig machine, my Culligan machine, a fridge, pantry and freezer full of food, and dining out on a frequent basis. Due to my job, I spend a significant amount of time wining and dining my sphere, past clients, and new connections.

I went into this challenge thinking – how hard can this be? I was very wrong. My strategy was to purchase as many “filling” items as I could, which included the items below. Needless to say, the change in diet, and for the most part, drastic increase in carbs, and lack of protein and fresh produce, hit my body hard. By the end of the week, I felt very ill, sick to my stomach, and I was both mentally and physically exhausted. I was emotional, very moody, and quick to anger. My motivation and drive to do anything was at an all time low. This is even evident in the diary I kept for this challenge – by the end of the week, my accounts are brief and to the point. I found it difficult to pay attention, focus at work, and I felt cognitively slower to react to everything. I could even feel my confidence diminish slowly as the week progressed. We were asked to weigh ourselves both before and following the challenge, and although my weight did not fluctuate at all, I felt like I had gained at least 10 pounds, and it was affecting me mentally. I just felt unhealthy, and by the 7th day, I could hardly find the motivation to even leave my house. Obviously, I could see how this was affecting my job, which demands a very high level of energy. I also found this challenge difficult as I do much of my prospecting through active meetings with past clients, new connections, and my sphere, which generally occur at coffee, lunches, and/or dinners.

 

I took a lot away from this challenge. It was incredibly eye opening, and allowed me to see things in an entirely different light. I think that the most important thing that this has taught me is that even though there is “financial help” for those in need, and I use that term lightly after this past week, it is not nearly enough to provide someone with the nutrients and diet that is needed in order to function and live a normal life on a daily basis. I think that the results of this challenge are HUGE – we can see a correlation between diet and motivation, mental, cognitive and physical functions, and the ability to function on a daily basis in its most general sense. If our aim is to help those in need, the current system, standards, and expectations need to be re-evaluated.

 

 

 

MACKENZIE FIRBY - Owner of Two Fifty Two Boutique

When grocery shopping, I usually purchase what I feel like eating with little emphasis on cost. I usually do a small bit of comparison on price but if I really want something I will purchase it regardless of the cost. I belong to many social groups and attend many events where I eat out- I often find that I ate at a restaurant or at an event almost every day of the week. I had not thought about what a luxury these two points were until doing this challenge!

I completed the challenge without cheating. There were many times that I was tempted but knowing that I could “go back to normal” after the challenge kept me going. It is a harsh reality knowing that there are numerous people in our community that this is their diet and nutrition every day.

 

The first few days of the challenge were ok- I felt quite normal physically and emotionally. It was almost like a diet plan- I didn’t want to cheat. By about Tuesday, Day 3, I started to feel sluggish. I had little to no energy and no drive or focus. By day 4 I had developed a dull headache that would not subside. I was tired of eating the same few items and I was hungry before going to bed. Day 5 and Day 6 came and I was in rough shape. Headache, energy zapped and I was hungry by afternoon and before bed. By the end of the challenge I only had some rice and oatmeal left- no fruits or veggies or protein. In total, I lost 5 pounds on the challenge.

 Before doing this challenge, I never thought about the impact of a proper diet and nutrition. It really opened my eyes and has made me more aware of what people face on a daily basis. The tired, sluggish feeling, lack of focus and the jitters were all effects I felt and I am sure that anyone eating like this on a regular basis would feel the same. Going forward I know that I will be much more aware of what I am spending on food and what I am eating. I really feel for those that do not get proper nutrition and I will make every effort to assist those in need whether it be donating to the food bank or by giving a monetary gift to any organization that assists those not able to afford nutritious foods.

CHANTEL HUBER - Co-anchor CTV News Saskatoon

 

When I was asked to be part of the Food Bank Challenge and live off $32 in food for the week, I thought, ‘sure no problem'. I would just be buying for me and no one can budget better than this gal who’s an expert shopper and can see a sale miles away! So, when I set off to do some shopping for the challenge, I did my research first, as I always do when hunting for a bargain. It wasn’t until I got to the store that I actually had to pull out my phone and use my calculator to make sure I wasn’t adding in my head wrong! I actually had to make multiple trips and to different stores to make my dollars stretch. When I had finally found everything I thought I needed, I went home proud I had stuck to my budget. Then, the week began and reality started to hit.

 

At first, the hardest thing for me, as trivial as it sounds, was not being able to grab a coffee mid morning or midday at Starbucks or Tim’s. It’s a habit I’ve been accustomed to and it was hard to remember I couldn’t just indulge if I was out or wanted to meet friends or coworkers for a coffee. As the week went on, I felt more hungry and had fewer choices for food. With a busy schedule, it was hard to preplan meals with very few ingredients. By the end of the week, I felt really low energy, tired and irritable and didn’t feel like eating anything I had left. I kept my workout schedule in tact because I wanted to experience what that felt like but also because it helped boost energy levels despite a lack of nutrition. By the end of the week, I started to feel nauseous and was counting the hours until the end of the food challenge. I was really noticing the lack of protein and fresh vegetables, even though everything I bought was relatively healthy. I didn’t buy any junk because it was cheaper.

The biggest thing I took away from doing this, was the realization of just how much food or a lack of it and the proper balance of foods impact your physical and mental state. I always knew of this, but to experience it was a different story. I realized how fortunate I am for what I have. I hope by doing this challenge, it raises awareness for others that hunger is a real issue in our community and if we all find ways to do what we can, whether it’s donating to the food bank, helping serve a hot lunch at a local school or helping someone we know who is struggling, hopefully we can each make a difference.

 KAREN MARTIN - Store Manager of Home Outfitters, Saskatoon

 

The initial shopping experience was a huge shock for me. I had to make decisions between certain foods-a loaf of bread or a box of crackers- I went with the crackers and glad that I did because there were many days when that’s what got me through. There was not enough money for both tea and yogurt, so I went without tea (my little bit of daily caffeine-that I was used to) for the week.

I shopped at Dollarama and Walmart, but realistically if I only had $31 for food, I probably didn’t have bus fare and unless I lived within walking distance to these two places, I would have to buy my groceries at one or the other. Neither place offered the best quality in product-but it was all I could afford.

I started out the week feeling like I could stretch this food out for the week, but as I was having less and less food left, my thinking certainly changed. I didn’t throw out the leaves from the celery-thinking I could fry them and throw them in my soup for anything extra. I started slicing the cheese super thin and rationing it, but then I was starting to feel quite hungry.

 

I work at a job that requires quite a bit of physical movement, so it definitely was not enough to keep me working to my full capacity. I had headaches, felt bloated and quite frankly a bit depressed about the lack of variety that a strict monetary diet like this gave me. I started to no longer look forward to eating because it was really just something to stop the stomach from feeling so horrible.

Even though it was only for a week, it was definitely an eye opener and brought awareness to what a lot of people in our city must deal with everyday. I strongly believe that in order to help people with life’s basics, we need decent affordable housing. When this market is so out of balance with everything else, there remains nothing for the simple basics of food and water.

 

KATIE MARTIN - Makeup Artist/Esthetician; Modern Woman Staff & Blogger

 

I organized this challenge to raise awareness for the Saskatoon Food Bank and to educate our readers about food insecurity. I truly thought with proper planning it wouldn't be that hard. I tried to shop smart with the budget I had to work with, planning for at least 1-2 servings of protein a day, 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, and 2 cups of coffee (albeit instant... barf) per day. The rest I had to go for satiety over my usual choices of complex carbs and ended up with a lot of bread and pasta. I've heard several people argue that "you can buy rice and beans in bulk and eat healthy on a budget". Ok, I wish those people would actually try that. Not only will eating nothing but rice and beans get old fast, but lack of variety in your diet is not only unhealthy due to zero variance in micronutrients, but its super depressing. So, I have to respectfully disagree with those people.

The first few days weren't that bad because I had most of my food to pick and choose from. However, right from the get-go the instant coffee upset my stomach and the margarine I could afford made me gag from the taste... "I Can't Believe Its Not Butter?" Believe it. It isn't. I was desperate for real coffee but I was still in good spirits.

 

Mid-week I was really starting to get that gross feeling when you eat too much sugar, even though I hadn't had any sweets at all. I wasn't sleeping well, I was more than a little irritable, my emotions were starting to run rampant and I was having a hard time focusing at work. I had started skipping meals due to lack of appealing food despite being physically hungry. Full disclosure alert: I have bi-polar disorder. I rely on routine and consistency, and it never occured to me that this project would affect me so drastically. By Thursday, I was all over the place. I was sleeping about 4 hours a night and when I wasn't mad about nothing, I was near tears over nothing. Friday (Day 6) was one of the worst days I can recall in a long time for not being able to manage my thoughts and moods. But, though my husband begged me to throw in the towel, I told him that there were so many people out there who suffer from mental illness that don't have the option to just throw in the towel. How many people can't succeed mentally because they don't have to means to care for themselves physically? How many children are being told they have a variety of behavioral or attention disorders when perhaps some of these behaviors could (at least partially) be due to a poor quality diet? I truly have no idea, but it definitely raised some questions for me. Nope, I was not throwing in the towel... I was determined to finish the challenge.

Saturday I went to work all day and while I felt physically drained I was in a bit better spirits because I knew it was the last day. By the end I felt defeated, physically and mentally unwell, and had lost 7 pounds despite feeling like I gained 1000. For the sake of giving readers the best account of my experience that I could, I tracked my diet via My Fitness Pal. I found I was eating between 1100-1500 calories a day, 60-70% coming from (not-so-complex) carbs and was below the recommended amount for protein, fat, fiber, many essential vitamins, and drastically below in iron and calcium. I realize that part of my struggle was the shock of going from a nutritious diet to something quite the opposite despite my planning, but nobody should have to treat their body less than optimal because of food insecurity - short or long term. Everyone in our community deserves to have access to a healthy, well-balanced diet. We definitely need more affordable housing to offset the high cost of living, community supports including educating the public about food insecurity, to provide accessible and quality education to people living below the poverty line about proper nutrition and how to prepare healthy meals, and we need to inform the public about how to get involved by donating and volunteering. We are all one community, and hopefully this inspires everyone to do a little bit more.

So there you have it. Please take the time to reflect and be grateful for all the good things in your life and never take them for granted.

Change can begin with helping just one person.

You can find the Saskatoon Food Bank at 202 Ave C S and visit their website at www.saskatoonfoodbank.org for information on their most wanted items for donation or how to volunteer.

Peace out Saskatoon... go be nice to each other.

Katie

 

Taking Care of You

Throughout the year I aim to take one or a few trips for myself. Most of them are work based. I feel it’s very important as an entrepreneur to surround myself with like minded people as often as I can. I generally like to go travel away from home to do this. So over the past few years I’ve hit the coast or abroad to attend workshops and retreats.

A few years ago I attended Pender Island on the west coast of Canada with a group of other photographers, none of whom I knew from a hole in the ground. I really just knew them as Facebook followers.

I was in between kiddos/nursing so I just hopped on the plane and went for it! It was a three day weekend, with the sun shining, ocean breeze,  long night time visits about marketing and different techniques. Daily photo shoots were organized by three fabulous woman that put on the weekend retreat.

It was heaven on earth. Not often do I get to talk shop all weekend and these people actually want to talk back about it. It was beyond amazing for my soul. SO much so that I went back the next year...only this time I was carrying along a 4 month baby bump with child numero 3:)

year one

year two

I also keep up with local blogs and blogs afar. The beauty of the internet is you can get your hands on anything from the comfort of your own studio.  I find great inspiration in what others have to say. It’s nice to stay current and on top of things especially in this”now” world we live in. I also love instagram. I find it a more positive platform than Facebook. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, but alas it’s great for work. I am finding more clients are booking through Instagram than Facebook. more interaction. If you’re not already, follow my shenanigans at @demophoto

 

I am excited to announce that I will be headed to Los Angeles at the end of January for a super intense 2 day workshop with Promise Tangeman and her GOLIVE hq team.

What is this you ask?

They are an unreal team of graphic design artists and the workshop is to launch a brand new website in 2 days flat. This of course is done with a month and a half of homework on my part beforehand. I have been wanting to attend this workshop for over 4 years now. But growing our family kind of put a hold on things for awhile. This workshop books up super fast so I jumped on it. I can not WAIT to show you all what we come up with. I am stoked to have a more cohesive and responsive website/blog that speaks more of who I AM. over the moon over here people!

In closing, I can’t state enough that my best self care is time spent with these beautiful littles and this handsome man of mine. We are counting down the days to our next camping trip. It can not come soon enough.

These sweet faces brighten my days and warm my heart.

(below images by: Jesslaine Elise Photography)

Joc XX

 

deMo Photography

 

 

FALL/WINTER MAKEUP TRENDS 2015

Oh the weather outside is frightful... but makeup is always delightful! Am I right? Of course I am ... just ask my husband. Ha.
From bold lips to crazy liners, NYFW (New York Fashion Week for those who aren't a fan of anograms...) showed some beautiful, basic trends this past fall and some that were, well... a bit more "outside the box" for the everyday makeup enthusiast. Because trends can seem appealing but often consumers don't know where to start, I asked a few of my fellow Saskatoon-based make-up artists to share their product recommendations in each category. These ladies know their stuff, and like me, are not strangers to testing new products! Helping me with our top "Pro Picks" for consumer products are: Modern Woman exhibitor Melissa Wyant-Taylor for Le Lash Lash & Makeup Boutique; Holly Decker of Holly Decker Makeup Artistry, sponsor for Modern Woman's annual fashion show; and one of Saskatoon's most popular makeup artists, Lisa Hallam of Lisa Hallam Makeup Artistry.
Now, hold on to your hats because you get the thrill of reading my tips, tricks and real talk about what is happening on people's faces this season...

 

The Classic Red Lip

Be still my heart, from the time I started wearing makeup I have loved this look. Imagine, little Katie rocking her Gwen Stefani lip in Grade 8. Ok, I totally looked more like Courtney Love due to my lack of skills, but this was a real thing and it happened. Sigh. The red lip is a trend that never seems to go out of style and we saw it all over the runway this year with designers like Dolce & Gabbana and Carolina Herrera.
As an adult, I still love rocking a red lip and I think it looks good on almost everyone provided it is
A) Precisely applied and
B) The right shade for you.
Maybe you have a fav red and you've got it cased, but if you are one of the many women who just aren't sure - a professional makeup artist or a seasoned makeup retailer can help you assess your undertones and help pick the perfect shade for you. Having a lip liner to accompany your perfect red lip can help achieve that precise look, as well as having a good lip brush. If you prefer a more natural, flushed look you can dab your lipstick on lightly, blot with a tissue and finish with a nice balm or gloss. No matter the red or how it's applied, just be sure to stay inside the lines and take an occasional peep in the mirror so you don't end up looking like a hot mess. My personal advice is to avoid a heavy eye look when wearing a bold lip of any kind (think of that woman with the huge dangly earrings & a big necklace at the same time...) and let one facial feature be the star of the show.

PRO PICKS
Katie: Kevyn Aucoin "Everlasting" $34, Le Lash Lash & Makeup Boutique
Melissa: Ellis Fass "L401 Hot Lip" $40, Le Lash Lash & Makeup Boutique
Holly: MAC "Ruby Woo" $20; MAC Cosmetics
Lisa: MAC "Russian Red" $20; MAC Cosmetics

 

The Flushed Cheek

Ok, we are not allowed to discuss religion on this blog so ... OMG!!! PRAISE ** insert deity of choice here** THE SIMPLE, PRETTY CHEEK IS BACK!!! Did it ever really leave? Not in my world. But in a sea of heavily contoured, sculpted, highlighted, strobed (pick your poison) reality tv stars and YouTube sensations, the world has forgotten what looks truly natural and beautiful on a face. To me, that is a healthy, flushed cheek. This is easy people! Take a shade of blush that mimics what you look like when you are naturally flushed and lightly apply it to the apples of your cheeks with a nice big, fluffy brush. Voila - you're gorgeous!

PRO PICKS
Katie: NARS "Orgasm" $37; Sephora
Melissa: Kevyn Aucoin "Natura" $45; Le Lash Lash & Makeup Boutique
Holly: Benefit Cheek Stain $30; Sephora
Lisa: Make Up Forever "#401" cream blush $26; www.makeupforever.com

 

Graphic Liner

This one was ALL over the runways, but for a regular person it's pretty damn weird to me. This is essentially an oddly placed liner that often comes across like Pop Art or something that is supposed to be some sort of "fashionable" prison tat. But hey, Orange is the New Black right? There are no rules with this - pretty much take a fine detail brush and a gel liner, or easier still - a liquid liner and go to town. Maybe in your crease, maybe on just the inner or outer corners of your eyes... maybe draw a picture of your cat on your temple... whatever floats your boat. I really, truly recommend taking it easy with this one - I predict this to be a "what was I thinking??" iPhone snap the average consumer can look forward to making fun of themselves for in the future.

 

Dark Moody Lips


Wahoo! 90s Katie is swinging her grungy plaid shirt around with joy! 90s have been emerging on the runways for a few seasons now and this one is no different. Black lips were all over the place, showing up on models for Giorgio Armani, Marc Jacobs and Tibi... BUT, black isn't maybe the most wearable colour for the average person. Try a deep oxblood red, a dark purple or a rich wine colour and apply it precisely to avoid looking like Marilyn Manson or that girl from The Craft. Crank up some Pearl Jam and you're ready to rock!

PRO PICKS

Katie: MAC Cyber $20, MAC Cosmetics
Melissa: Kevyn Aucoin "Blood Roses" $35; Le Lash Lash & Makeup Boutique
Holly: MAC "Sin" $20; MAC Cosmetics
Lisa: MAC "Diva"$20; MAC Cosmetics

 

Fresh Skin

Skin that looks like skin. What a concept! Seriously though, fresh healthy skin starts from within - lots of water, a healthy diet and limited sun exposure. Sometimes though, this just doesn't cut it and we need a little help from the cosmetics department. The mistake people often make is assuming you NEED a powder to set your foundation, or that you need lots of it. A light dusting in the T-zone is sometimes all you need, if any. The other thing people don't realize is that you don't HAVE to use foundation all over your face! A properly matched foundation can be applied to just the areas on your face that need a little extra help and let your natural, beautiful skin show everywhere else. One last thing - don't use a heavier coverage than you need, and don't use too much product regardless of formula. It shouldn't look like you have foundation on. "Wow, your cakey face looks amazing today!"... Said nobody, ever. A good makeup brush or a damp beauty blender can help control your application and give a beautiful finish.

PRO PICKS

Katie: FACE Atelier Ultra Skin Foundation $50, www.faceatelier.com
Melissa: Ellis Faas Foundation $105; Le Lash Lash & Makeup Boutique
Holly: The Beauty Blender $28; Holly Decker Makeup Artistry
Lisa: MAC Face & Body Foundation $43; MAC Cosmetics

 

Metallics

Sparkles, sequins, gems, shimmers and all things reflective made enough appearances on the runways to merit a mention. As a consumer, please don't go around gluing sequins to your eyes. Just don't do it... you can thank me later when you don't look like a dumbass. However there are some fun ways to add a little metal to your life. The first is to go raid your boyfriend's "CD book" from 2004. If that is unsatisfactory, which I assume it will be, then you can get some cream shadow with a metallic or shimmery finish to play around with. Use these lightly on your lids or a try a fun metallic eyeliner to use on your upper or lower lash line for a night out. I personally love the look of a clean eye with a bit of bronze on the lid, especially with a classic red lip.

PRO PICKS

Katie: MAC Prolongwear Paint Pot "Indianwood" $26, MAC Cosmetics
Melissa: Ellis Faas Lights "E303" $48; Le Lash Lash & Makeup Boutique
Lisa: Laura Mercier Caviar Stick "Copper" $34; Sephora

 

The Smoky Eye

Last, but not least - the smoky eye. I knew you were waiting for it... But! Throw away the idea of the 10-step process that you've seen a million times on YouTube. That is not what I'm talking about. Let's talk about a smoky eye that is clean, simple and sexy. Matte neutral shadows and a kohl pencil is all you need - and not even necessarily both, or even black for that matter. Use brown or grey shadows to lightly darken the area around the eye, then take a kohl pencil in brown, grey or black around the lash line and smudge it out. You can change this up any way you like it! Just pencil, just shadow, whatever! Play with using shadows as your eyeliner - this is something I do frequently for myself and my clients. However you choose to do it, make it soft, sultry, and a bit messy without all the over-the-top shimmery lids and cut creases. If you insist, pop the tiniest bit of highlight shadow in the very inner corner of your eye. Above all - blend, blend, blend!!! The best smoky eyes are blended to perfection. When you think you've blended enough, just blend a little more. Kapeesh?

PRO PICKS

Katie: Urban Decay Naked BASICS #1 $34, Sephora
Melissa: MAC brush #217 $29.50; MAC Cosmetics
Holly: MAC brush #219 $30; MAC Cosmetics
Lisa: MAC Kohl Pencil "Smolder" $16.50; MAC Cosmetics

 

Well there you have it. Hopefully you are inspired to try some new products and looks!

Special thanks to all my pro makeup pals that contributed with their product picks and helped you spend your hard earned money on more cosmetics that you most certainly, absolutely, positively, 100% need. We are all happy to help with any questions you may have, and we are available for all types of makeup bookings!

Katie

Katie Martin - Katie Martin Makeup Artistry & Esthetics
Email: katie.martin@live.ca Ph:(306)280-4848

Melissa Wyant - Le Lash Lash & Makeup Boutique
Email: info@lelash.ca Ph:(306) 933-5274

Holly Decker - Holly Decker Makeup Artistry
Email: hollydeckermakeupartist@gmail.com Ph:(306) 716-8287

Lisa Hallam - Lisa Hallam Makeup Artistry
Email: info@lisahallam.ca Ph:(306) 665-5537

 

Our First Blog Post

Keep your heels and head up. The blog is here.

Several years ago I sat at my kitchen table, or maybe on the couch…Let’s be honest, it was most likely the bathroom floor (My best creative thinking is with a glass of red sitting on the bathroom floor). It was in this exact ‘Ah Ha’ moment that I decided to create a trade show for women. It wasn’t going to be like any other show that I had participated in -this one was going to be different. The Modern Woman Show was going to be full of inspiring women, a focus on local business, and it had to give back to the community we lived in – women helping women. The event was going to evolve into something unique and special. It would become not only a place to find great products but a learning experience.
So there I am, with very minimal entrepreneurial knowledge, I have the understanding of hard work, experience as a vendor, and the knowledge of being a woman (with woman interests, of course). A lot of passion and dedication and a dream was born. Now fast forward to present day -Modern Woman has grown and we couldn’t have done it without the support of so many people. This blog has been added to share more about those special people, the businesses that make this event a success, and it gives us an opportunity to show you a little more about who we are.
I have learned in the last 5 years to travel off the beaten path, cultivate new friendships that inspire you, live life to the absolute fullest, and never stop learning and challenging yourself. I hope this blog and the women and businesses featured will ignite an ‘Ah Ha’ moment for you.
XX Chan

“I choose to surround myself around phenomenal women who are confident and secure enough to know that there is enough room for all of us to make it to the finish line.” -unknown

Our Influencers:

Katie Martin

What does being a Modern Woman mean to you?
The obvious thing that comes to mind is to stay current with trends while embracing your individual style regarding things such as fashion, music, and pop culture in general. I believe it's also incredibly important to stay informed about our world. We have a responsibility to pay attention to current events, to have a basic understanding of politics both locally and globally, and to stay informed about the core issues that face society as a whole. I think it’s also about taking the time to really get to know ourselves, what makes us unique and important, and what inspires us to be confident and purposeful.

 

Mandi Brown

What can we find you doing in your spare time?
Health & Fitness related activities such as Cross Fit, the gym, taking my wiener dog for a walk, yoga with friends etc. I am also a huge fan of supporting local business and fueling our YXE economy by eating at local restaurants, shopping at local shops and following the local fashion and business networks.

 

Jocelyn de Moissac

What do you look forward most to at the Modern Woman Show?
I look forward to another great year at the show watching connections being made and being surrounded by all of these incredibly talented and inspiring woman. I adore the interaction I see on the daily while shooting this show and of course hanging with the guest speakers isn’t horrible. A fun perk that’s for sure. It’s all around such a feel good/warm fuzzies kind of weekend for me.

 

Megan Hammond

What inspires you?

The support and encouragement I receive from friends, family and complete strangers. There is so much good in this world, and it shows up in the cracks and crevices of everyday life. Choosing to be open to learning and growth inspires me in ways that constantly surprise me. Surrounding myself with strong, creative and hardworking people has inspired me to be better, do better and support others in their endeavors. Saskatoon is full of people up to great things!

 

 

All photos courtesy of deMo photography