7 Ways to Halloween in Calgary

There is a dark secrete I’ve been keeping in my closet, and it’s coming out today. Ready? Here we go. I turn off my lights and hide in my basement from the trickle treaters on Halloween night. There I said it, feeling much relieved though My friends with kids are probably un-friending me on Facebook right now.

I have nothing against Halloween! I just want to enjoy it without getting out of my seat every 5 minutes and endure the fear of running out of candy. For those sharing the same dark secrete, you now know you are not alone. You can still have Halloween funs regardless. Get your customes before you go out there and scare people.

1. Scream Fest

It’s a 10 days event rated PG13 leading up to Halloween. It’s not intended for the faint of hearts and not recommended for young children. Be prepared to some truly scary haunted houses, carnival games, and entertainments.

2. Calgary Ghost Tour

You can enjoy the public walking tours all year round and learn about the spooky history of Calgary and Banff. Not only suitable for out-of-town visitors, but also entertaining for local residents. It’s a friendly tour for children as well as wheelchairs. Tour guides wear cape, so don’t forget your camera.

3. Calgary Thrill The World

If you are going to miss the ever growing annual Calgary Zombie Walk (10/12 2013) because I release this blog post too late (so sorry), you are not to late to sign up and get ready for this simultaneous world wide dance event. You’ll have to learn a few easy moves, but you’ll have a chance to beat world record with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. This is a great event to bring your relatives and children along for a physically active weekend of fun.

4. Calgary Corn Maze Flashlight Night

The flashlight night gave me a totally different perspective about this seasonal corn maze. It gets real dark inside the maze. Moonlight and flashlight are your only hope to sight. Next flashlight night is 10/18/2013. I hope you get a chance to go and nudge the staff to have more of flashlight nights! Check out our video for a little taste of thrill.

5. Sci Fi Night

University of Calgary’s observatory is throwing a party on 10/26/2013, too! $10 to this celebration of 60s science and pop culture. There will be games, trivia challenges, costume contest, music. You’ll be amongst the stars in Rothney Astrophysical Observatory.

6. Party at Home

If you are a home body, and in need of helpers to answer the door bell and handout the candies for you. Why not throw a last minute pot-luck party? You’ll only have to decorate. Here are a few last mid pumpkin hack and party decor tips I found on YouTube. Easy peachy.

7. Out and Party!

There are quite a few of them in Calgary:

Fright Fest in Hotel Arts; 10/26/2013; $100/ticket, $2000+ cash prizes for best costumes.

Witch CRAFT; 10/26/2013; $10/ticket; party at one of Calgary’s most popular and trendy Craft Beer Market.

The Party to Die For; 10/26/2013; $65/ticket; hosted by Calgary restaurant Belgo Brasserie.

 

 

 

 

Cellphone Photo Comparison – iPhone4s iPhone5s Samsung Galaxy Note 3

I really like my iPhone5s camera.  It handles the low-light situations well.  I like its large aperture lense and the burst mode for moving target like my baby nephew and my dogs inside the house.  Its slow-mo video camera is fun too.

I think iPhone5s renders the best colour in the low-light situations.  Since we had 3 different mobile phones at the dinner table last night, here’s a quick comparison of the 3 cellphones’ candid shots inside a not-so-bright restaurant:

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FYI:  iPhone 4S has F2.4 lense.  Both iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 have F2.2 lense.  The smaller the F-stop number, the bigger the aperture.  i.e. The camera with the smaller F-stop number is better for low-light situation.

I’m not doing a detailed comparision since there are many really detailed comparison of different mobile cameras on the web, such as the one on PhoneArena

I really love my new iPhone 5s Camera!  However, I must note that being a super Apple fan, I was pretty impressed by the Samsung Galaxy Note 3’s technology behind the phone.  Apple should be concerned.

What do you think about the 3 cellphone photos?

Enemy Can Be A Blessing

“Rush”? Yes, the movie “Rush”. No romantic comedy for this movie night.

I sat down in my D-Box seat decompressing from another work day cluttered with doubts, resistance and frustrations. I sense it’s becoming a common theme during my office hours. To many, I suspect, its not uncommon. They call it “work” after all. Few voices passed through my head while the movie commercials were on. “How hard was it to see what I see?” “Just do what I say already.” “Why do I always have to prove it?” Nope, not a very happy day. Hearing voice again! Oh boy, you can imagine how hard I fought not to wolf down a cup cake.

The vibration and the swinging of my D-Box seat totally sync up to the movie and got me really excited about all the car race scenes. I felt the thrust of the engine on my bum as I had been in Lauda’s Ferrari. I got throw to the back rest when Hunt suddenly accelerated to grab a corner and pass Lauda.  I think this is the only way to truly enjoy this movie. All the stimulations got me parking the exhausting day aside for a while. Not that I choice to look the other way, I was way too occupied with this fantastic movie.

Without giving too much away for those not familiar with the actual events between these two mortal enemies, let’s just say the one that brought out the most negative emotions also brought out most feared determination. That IS the blessing of having an enemy. I read this article a few days ago which mentioned: “it’s the people you like least who have the most to teach you about yourself.” The rivalry between Lauda and Hunt really puts it in context for me. It bears some truth and wisdom, isn’t it? I mean, it’s on the Internet right?!

Do you have a Niki Lauda or a James Hunt in you life? I started to scan through my “enemies” in my head, and strangely I started to like them a little bit. How lucky am I that I have more than one! Next time I detect my enemy, I can choose to be thankful for my blessing before I decide to cross them off my holiday shopping list. So, go ahead and piss me off, rub me the wrong way, show little faith in me, and ask me to prove it to ya! I love you for all that.

Okay, if all I’ve been rambling about has not convinced you to watch the movie. Here are the official trailers. Don’t forget to watch the movie in a D-Box seat!

4 Hours of Fun at Canmore Grassi Lake

Autumn is here! Autumn is here! The leaves are turning colours.

I can hear my camera whispering and itching to capture this short yet dramatic season. I packed my new OMD EM5 and Jessica packed her new iPhone 5S. We both had to pull out some sort of sporty shoes deep inside the closet (mine was even dusty) because we are hiking in the mountains this time.

I don’t like hiking in the woods let along choosing a trail voluntarily for a weekend past time.  EXCEPT I would hike the Grassi Lake Trail over and over again. Here’s why and thank you once again Mr. Lawrence Grassi:

1. It is part of Canmore Nordic Centre (not Banff), no entrance fee to enter the provincial park. Saving for burgers and nachos after the hike.

2. It’s short and sweet! Total distance both way is about 3.5km, with approximately 165m elevation gain. Most people can finish the trail in 2 hours.

3. It has two seperate trail paths, one easy (wide open path with trees shedding all along the way)  and one more difficult (engaging course with ever changing view into the river valley). Hike up one way and climb down the other. Never a dull moment!

4. It’s payout is early and turquoise breath-taking. Crystal clear water, various depths reflecting 50 shades of blue and green in both lakes on top of the trail.

5. It has history and mystery. The most famous one is “Medicine Man” pictograph by the Hopi people, a drawing over 1000 years old.

 

18 Art Works in 2 Hours

We love to travel! When we can’t get away, we play tourists in our own city.

City of Calgary downtown area has so much art and beauty to offer. Have you noticed them while you rush to your office towers and balancing your Starbucks and smart phones? Why not take a walk with your camera and do a little scavenger hunt after work? While everyone is stuck in rush hour traffic, you’ll be having fun “travelling” and rediscovering your home city!

We found a great Downtown Art Guide by City of Calgary and Downtown Calgary as our initial reference. We made our own little map if you want to take the same walk we did. It was short and sweet.

With all the goofing around we did, the walk took us 1.5 hours. You can take your time learning about the art works, interacting with them like we did. Or you can power through it if you have only a lunch break. Lots of coffee shops and restaurants along this walk for you to grab something on the way. Even better, have your date in this wide open art gallery, call in the sunset. Wouldn’t that be romantic!

What a blast we had traveling in our own city. We are definitely going to do another walk to check out the other 38 art works in the Art Guide. Perhaps, we’ll do a night walk to see which ones are lit up all dramatic and theatrical. What do you say?!

transit storymetal horseNouva TwistWeather VanesTribute to Land (Turtle)Between Earth and the SkyTree8 seconds of gloryever evolving humanCalgary clock yellow chairBig DaddyPeter's Co BellBig BrotherSpirited DanceMillenium BeetleBrown Trout RisingFriendshipCow Bench

238 People and Vivacova at a Really Really Long Table

Another super fun and happy night! Life is so very good.

Thank you City Palate for making this fantastic vision come true! Dinner outdoors in a summer night with live music by The Polyjesters, laughter at the table, attentive service, spontaneous waves of raising glass up and down the really really long table. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Food tastes so much better when shared with others. Imagine how good it was sharing with 238 others all together!

Dinner was $150 a head and $25 per person for wine pairing. Proceeds went to Red Cross Flood Relief, most definitely a night worthwhile.  It’s unreal to think downtown Calgary was under water on June 20th, 2013. With less than 90 days after the major flood, we recovered to be strong enough to party in the middle of 8th avenue, heart of downtown. It’s a blessing.

5 courses were served and 7 of our personal frequent choice of restaurants on 8th avenue participated, Blink, Catch & The Oyster Bar, Charcut, Divino, Teatro, The Belvedere, and Trib Steakhouse. Wines were chosen by The Cellar for those choose to pair with their meals. Our Mayer Nenshi only had time to stop by for a fun filled speech while drooling over what’s in everyone’s dinner plate. He had to get back to his Mayer duties.

I hope City Palate plans to throw this amazing party again soon. Maybe add an alcohol free mocktail for those non-drinkers, wink wink!

The Really Really Long Table Dinner by City PalateThe Really Really Long Table Dinner by City PalateThe Really Really Long Table Dinner by City PalateThe Really Really Long Table Dinner by City PalateThe Really Really Long Table Dinner by City PalateThe Really Really Long Table Dinner by City Palate

 

 

Louis Vuitton Neverfull Limited Edition Ikat Hot Pink Indian Rose SS2013

I had been dreaming for a LV Neverfull since Cher got her LV Neverfull MM years ago!  Her Louis Vuitton Monogram Neverfull had travelled with her to many places and it’s been a very stylish camera bag with the camera bag insert.  I was planning to get one with some customized hot pink lines or maybe even with some custom painted artwork  (with my pretty Maltese dogs on it, of course).

On my birthday this year, my dream came true!  I got a Louis Vuitton Neverfull – the limited edition Ikat Hot Pink Fuchsia Indian Rose SS2013 MM (medium size)!  The pink leather straps are just in the perfect shade of pink!  I’m so happy!

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With it, I’m ready for a stylish voyage!

 

 

 

Fashion Emergency Kit – Keep It Simple

When I read about the Fashion Emergency Kit  post from WhoWhatWhere, I was like – Yup! Totally!  I’ve always kept a “fashion emergency kit” like that in the office.  However, I have a much smaller kit in my little purse on the go.

I like to keep it simple! I just have 3 things.  Really, these are all you need in the purse

  1. A fashionable scarf (better than any stain removers)
  2. A couple of mini safety pins (better than a sewing kit)
  3. A pair of earrings (optional)

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Why do I keep those 3 things in my kit?

  • Scarf – I do have a mini Tide stain remover pen in my cosmetic bag. However, it doesn’t always do the trick. So, I keep a scarf (either a 90cm x 90cm square one or a long scarf) in my kit. It is to cover up any stain that I may get on my shirt or dress. You can change the scarf  in your kit daily to go with your outfit or pick one that goes with everything.  Bonus: Scarf could warm you up in the chilly summer nights too.
  • Mini safety pins – they are just so much faster than sewing kit for any potentially embarrassing situation while you are out and about.  True story – I broke a spaghetti strap off my LBD as I sat down in the restaurant. Now, can you imagine sewing something when you are in a restaurant? Obviously not! In this case, the mini safety pin saved me! My friend pined the spaghetti strap back to my dress within seconds in public. We continued having a good time! :-)
  •  Tiffany’s pearl stud earrings  (optional) – I loose one earring or one of the back of the earrings more often than I should… So, I need back-up earrings.  If you don’t loose earrings, you can skip this item in your kit.  I keep a pair of classic white pearl stud earrings in my kit because they go with EVERY-thing!  I’ve considered a pair of silver or gold hoop earrings for the emergency kit, but they don’t always go with certain outfit.  On the other hand, classic pear stud earrings go with formal or informal outfit in any colour scheme!  If you don’t know what size of pearl studs to get, there’s a really good discussion about the pearl stud sizes on PurseForum.

For anything else, you should just be able to wait until you get home or back to the office.  Do not over stuff your kit and your small handbag – it’s not pretty!

For a kit that you can leave in the office, you may want to create a bigger kit like WhoWhatWhere suggested or just opt for one of those pre-made and more comprehensive kits.  I really like the Minimergency kits from Pinch Provisions.  They even have a kit for moms and that one has mini play cards and crayons!  That’s just so cool!  If you know any moms with toddlers, you may want to get it as a gift!

Do you have a fashion emergency kit in your purse?  What’s in your kit?  Share your tips and tricks!

Blue Canoe in Banff National Park

Being a Calgarian is such a blessing for having Banff National Park practically at our back yard. Growing up in a concrete jungle, I have to admit the nature scene can be intimidating, especially in the majestic Rocky Mountains.

Blue Canoe at Banff National Park gets me up close and personal with the beautiful nature while keeping me feeling at ease. It’s one of my favourite summer activities when visiting Banff.  Although they offer kayaks, bikes and tours as well, I have always been drawn to taking one of those blue bottomed canoes out in the water myself.

My experience (on video) with the course right off the dock has been very enjoyable every time. The water is as calm as glass with colours varying between blue and green. Most of the course is wide open allowing comfortable maneuver even with oncoming traffic. Part of the course is windy and engaging, my favourite part! The view is to die for! Picture glittering reflection of gentle sunshine while you and your canoe passing through the evergreens reaching overhead, casting a reflection on the turquoise water. I wish I have a pair of google glass now.

Budget for one hour ($36 first hr) to explore the river slowly and casually. Be prepared to step into a dreamy wonderland and some super cute wildlife encounters.

 

Coco and Violet

Overly stuffed with Sunday brunch, we decided to move around and stay active without ruin our makeup. We went to Coco and Violet and played dress-up!

Coco and Violet is one of our favourite women’s boutiques in Calgary. It feels like a giant walk-in closet with contemporary, high-end, ready to wear fashion. Personal styling experience in store is most fun for us. Helen and Cory have such good eyes for putting things together and transformed our personalities in the mirrors. The store space is airy and open, we couldn’t help treating it like our private runway fashion show. We got to walk around, move about, and pose with the beautiful sunlights shining in from the wall of floor to ceiling windows. It was an afternoon well spent. We walked away happily with lots of new timeless pieces that are office appropriate, coffee shop chic and restaurant versatile. Of course, we felt very relaxed and recharged hanging out and catching up with our friends at Coco and Violet.

Keep an eye on their latest items with their Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter @cocoandviolet. Try any piece, step out of your comfort zone, and just giggle with the girls at Coco and Violet!

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