focus yyc: 9 more unique calgary date ideas

I get so sick of hearing the sentence, "there is nothing to do in Calgary". FALSE. You are just too lazy. So take yourself, your friend, or your significant other on a date and fall back in love with Calgary.

1. Recordland.

There are lots of record stores around Calgary, but in my opinion, Recordland has the most charm. Grab a coffee from a nearby Inglewood cafe and browse through the cluttered, crowded shelves stuffed with every album you'd ever dreamed of. Don't own a record player? Well, that isn't my problem, maybe you should.

2. Punk rock bingo.

Do you like bingo? Do you like beer? Do you like loud music? Do you like ridiculously cool and weird prizes like enormous tiger blankets, ugly sweaters, records, Star Wars 3D puzzles, and Sigmund Freud trivia cards? Well duh, take your significant other and head to Punk Rock Bingo. It goes on every Tuesday at either the Ship & Anchor or Broken City.

3. Farmer's market.

Who doesn't like food? Losers, that's who. And if you like food, you should especially like local food, because it supports your local community and all that good stuff. Check out the Kingsland Farmer's Market, the Calgary Farmer's Market, or Crossroads Market. Bonus points if you buy ingredients to cook a meal or go on a picnic together.

4. Blues bar.

I love the blues, and I especially love the blues when it's played to me live while I hold an ice cold beer. Such luxuries are offered to you at the Blues Can in Inglewood, where you can watch live blues every day of the week and indulge in some Creole nachos or fried pickles.

5. Calgary Culture First Thursdays.

Check these listings for unique events happening the first Thursday of every month in the cultural district of Calgary. Most are free! Or discounted! And who doesn't love a cheap date?

6. Check Urbanspoon's top restaurants.

Urbanspoon is a great resource for any food-lover, with a constantly updated list of the top restaurants in town. Why not randomly choose one of the top choices from any category and try something new?

7. Support some local artists at an open mic night.

There are lots of open mic nights in the city, but I'm particular to the open mic nights at Cafe Koi (100, 1011 - 1st ST SW).  They also do singer songwriter open mic on Tuesdays, jazz open mic nights on Thursdays, and occasional Hip Hop Improv nights on Saturdays. Come on, that's awesome and you know it.

8. Go to Comedy Monday Nights at Broken City.

Amateur comedy, as it turns out, can be extremely well done. A friend of mine invited me to watch his first stand up routine at Broken City a few weeks ago, and I had no idea such a thing even existed. A few of the acts were misses, but most of them were hilarious! I highly recommend grabbing a casual beer and having a few laughs in the dingy darkness of Broken City (613 11th Ave SW).

9. Take a cooking class.

I know, I've mentioned food a lot. But the fact is, Calgary is turning into a huge foodie city, and if you aren't taking advantage of all we have to offer, you are seriously missing out.  Food is good, food is great! So sign up for a Cookbook Co cooking class, or one at SAIT works too.

best quote for "intimidating" women

"of course I am not worried about intimidating men. 

the type of man who is intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in."

- chimamanda adichie

a bajillion beauty uses for Vaseline

I live in Calgary. For those of you who have never heard of Calgary, it is in Alberta, which is in Canada, which is in North America, which is on Earth. And I am very serious when I say that it gets cold here in the winter. I'm not talking -5 or -10 Celsius, I'm talking -35 Celsius, with a wind chill, and extreme dryness. But I have one little beauty trick that keeps me looking fresh & moisturized in winter (and all year round, but especially winter, cause it's a tough opponent).


My number one winter beauty trick is Vaseline. This is because it is the greatest (and probably cheapest) moisturizer on the market. So here are a bajillion uses for Vaseline that I bet you never knew about!

- If your skin is prone to dryness, slather Vaseline on your problem area before you go to bed, and you'll wake up smooth as a baby. If your feet are especially prone to dryness, cover them in Vaseline and wear socks to bed.

- And hey, you know when you're putting on foundation or concealer in the morning and it clumps funny on dry patches of your skin? As attractive as that is, here's a tip to bypass that travesty: dab some Vaseline on the problem area, take a dry washcloth, and buff it. Proceed to add concealer as planned. Voila, problem solved!

- You can easily turn any eyeshadow into a cream version by mixing it with a bit of Vaseline.

- Mix Vaseline with a bit of Kool-Aid and hey look, a new lip gloss that tastes oh so delicious!

- Tame those unruly, Gandalf-like eyebrows!

- Coat your eyelashes in Vaseline before bed for healthy, moisturized lashes.

- Frizzies and fly-aways? In a pinch, tame your tresses with a small dab (remember: a little goes a long way, chaps).

- Rub it on the neck of your nail polish bottles to prevent them from getting stuck to their caps.

- Used as a mask on your hairline, protects your skin from the chemicals of hair dye. Superhero of the day!

- One of your rings stuck on your finger? SLATHER IT!

- Put it around your nails when painting them, and easily wipe off any stray polish afterwards.

- Add some on top of your perfume application to make the scent last longer.

- Use it to remove your eye makeup - it takes off even the most stubborn mascara (I'm looking at you, waterproof)

- Chapped lips? Add Vaseline and buff with a dry toothbrush. Softy soft soft.

- Dab it on your cheekbones for a glowy, dewy look.

- Use Vaseline to remove makeup stains from your shirts!

- Rub a bit on your split ends to smooth them and make your hair look (and feel) healthier.

- Smooth & soothe your skin after shaving with Vaseline instead of lotion.

- Mix it with sea salts to make a DIY body scrub!

- Heat it in the microwave for a nightly moisturizing mask.

- Apply it to your new tattoo to protect & moisturize.

- Stretch out your favourite lotion's lifespan by mixing it with Vaseline.

Okay, I think you get the idea! I'm serious when I say it's a magical, magical beauty secret. So go buy a big tub of Vaseline or any kind of petroleum jelly and get moisturizin'. You'll be forcing your elbows in people's faces to show them how smooth you are in no time.

5 resolutions for 2014 to improve your life

It's 2014! Hurrah! Congratulations everyone, we made it through another year and we are now just one year away from hoverboards, according to Back To The Future.

Another year means a fresh start! So here are a few resolutions to make for 2014 that will improve your life - I promise.

1. clean out your closet.

I can't even tell you how many days during the week I go to get dressed and dislike most of what hangs in my closet. Oh no wait, yes I can - it's 7 days a week. Why do we buy these pieces of clothing that "could work" or "might be okay", when we could spend a bit more money or a bit more time searching and pick up a piece of clothing we are EXCITED about? Let's get happy about our fashion in 2014! Buy things you love, even if they're a bit crazy, even if your friend doesn't like it, even if it costs a bit more. 

2. get rid of your magnifying mirror.

I know this sounds really specific, but absolutely no good comes from examining every pore of your face. How about you get rid of the magnifying mirror, take a step back, and admire the big picture? No one notices that you have a few blackheads or one stray eyebrow hair, and you shouldn't either. Time spent examining every flaw is time spent incredibly poorly. 

3. watch less TV and movies.

I know, this one will be hard - Netflix is basically my boyfriend (don't tell my human boyfriend I said that). But think about it - what do you really gain from watching so much TV and so many movies? Not much. Entertainment. But you can also get entertainment from amazing things such as (stop me if you need the definitions of these) - Books, Exercising, Coffee With Friends, Brunch Dates, Exploring, Road Trips, Music Stores, Concerts, and this very amazing thing called Nature. Switch off the TV and get out there.

4. put your health first.

For some reason, as soon as life gets stressful or time gets crunched or money gets tight, one of the first things that usually falls to the back burner is our personal health. We skip workouts, we forget to take our vitamins, we lose sleep, we put off that doctor's visit. I'm guilty of this too, don't get me wrong! But this year, I'm making a conscious decision to put my health first, and you all should too. See how much better you feel when you decide to keep yourself healthy and happy above all other things - you'll be amazed how your productivity skyrockets.

5. keep a happiness journal.

I started this thing a few years ago when I was on a big life-improvement kick. I bought a really pretty journal, and every day I try to write one short sentence about something nice that happened that day (that I probably wouldn't remember otherwise) - a stranger bought my coffee, I got a compliment, my best friends and I had brunch, I picked up a long-awaited book, I had a laughter-filled dinner with my parents. You will be amazed at all of the tiniest things that make your day better. And when you're having a bad day, it's so comforting to be able to read through all the great things that have happened to you this year and know that things ain't so bad after all.

happy 2014 everyone!

5 videos for young women to watch

I am a feminist and I am not ashamed of it. Yes, I shave my legs and no, I don't partake in aggressive picketing or candlelight vigils. But I firmly believe in the power of women, and I strongly encourage all women - and girls - to be the same. So here are 5 videos to inspire you. And if you have some spare time, I highly recommend surfing through the gender section on

quote of the day

The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart, and being thoughtful, and being generous. Everything else is crap, I promise you. It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less. So don’t buy it! Be smart, be thoughtful and be generous.

ashton kutcher

5 things not to wear to a job interview

So we've gone over the 6 things you think people don't notice (but they do), commuting fashion, and the different types of blazers - all good things to know for the business world. But I'd like to take a moment to help out all you ladies that draw blanks when they need to dress for a job interview.

But instead of going over every item that works, here are 5 things I see all the time, that in my unprofessional opinion, don't work.

1. Denim.

I can't believe I even have to mention this - never, under any circumstances (I don't care if you're applying at a Fortune 500 company or McDonalds) wear denim to an interview. This including but not limited to: jeans, a denim jacket, a denim skirt, a chambray button-up, a chambray dress, etc. No. Denim.

You're probably thinking, "oh man Suzanne, you're such a square. I am so hip and cool, and I want to show that off in my interview". Yes, I am a square. I am also a square with a very good job and interview experience behind me. And I have been told after securing two different jobs that the outfit I wore helped secure that job. So if you heed one piece of advice from this article, be it this - no denim.

2. Sandals.

First of all, open-toed shoes are hardly ever appropriate to wear to an interview; the only exception I make for this is a very nice pair of peep-toed shoes in an interview with a very hip and urban company. But I usually err on the side of caution and don't wear open-toed shoes. And I especially don't wear sandals. Even if you paid $500 for a gorgeous pair of Louboutin sandals or whatever - sandals are too casual to ever be worn to a professional interview.

My very wise mother once told me, "always wear shoes with a heel to a business event; it announces your presence as someone not to be trifled with".

3. Anything that could possibly, in any universe, be called "revealing". 

Everyone has different standards of what is "revealing". Some girls put on a tank top and jeans and that's about as crazy as it gets - others wear sequin bikinis and furry boots and feel completely comfortable. When it comes to an interview, you need to raise your standards - and this especially applies to all you ample-bosomed women. Do an extra button up, don't wear a low v-neck, and don't wear a loose-necked shirt that gapes away from your chest when you bend over to shake their hand.

4. Bangle bracelets.

Jewelry is one of the key components to creating a well put-together outfit. But there are certain pieces of jewelry that, while they look great, just aren't very practical in real life. Bangle bracelets are one of these things. The last thing you want is for your jingling jangling bangles to be distracting from what you have to say and what you're trying to convey about your personality and professionalism. What I mean is, they're loud and annoying. Don't wear them.

5. A skirt.

A lot of you will probably disagree with me when I suggest not wearing a skirt to an interview. The first reason is that a lot of people aren't quite sure on the appropriate length of a skirt (the answer for an interview is knee length or slightly shorter; your skirt should cover your thighs entirely when you're seated). The second reason is, I see a lot of women fidgeting with their skirt (smoothing it out, pulling it down, making sure it's not tucked anywhere it shouldn't be). But the biggest reason for me is that a skirt is overtly feminine.

Don't get me wrong - I love a skirt as much as the next girl, but there is a time and a place. But when I'm going into an interview, I am walking in confidently with a purposeful stride, a firm handshake, unwavering eye contact and a pair of freshly pressed slacks that show them I mean business.

Take these pointers with a grain of salt, of course - maybe you will walk into an interview tomorrow with a short denim skirt, a low-cut t-shirt, bangle bracelets and flat sandals, and score a CEO job for a Fortune 500 company. Feel free to prove me wrong.

And now, some interview inspiration:

focus yyc: reebok fithub

I've never been one for fancy workout gear - I usually just work out in an old soccer t-shirt and some black spandex capris I got for $15. Classy, I know. But all of that may have changed. Because on Wednesday, I got invited to the opening of the new Reebok FitHub in Crossiron Mills, with a small shopping spree included. I am now completely swagged out.

I scored some great additions to my workout wardrobe like new thermal running pants, an ultrasoft long-sleeve running shirt and a floppy striped toque. But my favourite purchase of the evening: these ultracool leather look low tops.

Turns out, you can be fashionable when you're working out as well. Who knew! 

quote of the day

I can’t believe we’re even still having this conversation, but dudes, LISTEN: Women’s bodies are not yours. Women have the right to be gross, to have hair, to be slow, to put on make-up, to not put on make-up, to wear fake eyelashes, to smell good or bad, and to be human beings. Women are not your dog or your lawn or your living room, you do not get to prune and groom and design us, and negotiating things like hygiene and style within a relationship is a matter of mutual respect. My right to do my own nails does not stop where your personal boner for trimmed cuticles begins.
Also, women: If you are single, it is not because your fake eyelashes are too bushy or Kevin doesn’t like cucumber lotion. This shit is an oppressive waste of your time. Here’s my new beauty tip for everyone on earth: Go read a book or something.